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Birds in the vertebrate collection

The bird collection is made up of around 82,000 specimens. It includes a significant collection of skeletons and eggs as well as type material for 92 species. It is one of the institute's oldest collections and for much of the historical material, including the tropical birds, we owe our thanks to ornithologist Bernard du Bus de Gisignies, the first director of the Museum of Natural Sciences in 1848. Alphonse Dubois, who was appointed curator of the vertebrate collections in 1869, was the first to describe many of De Gisignies’ specimens. In the 1930s Zoologist René Verheyen added a great deal of material to the ornithological collections and in particular, an exceptionally large collection of Belgian and Central African fauna.