The ornithological collection at the Natural History Museum of Basel is the largest of its kind in Switzerland. The majority of the collection is made up of birds from Switzerland. They include numerous significant examples of the Swiss avifauna, such as the Rosy Starling and the Manx Shearwater. In addition to European species, there are also prominent examples of species from South America and the Indonesian region.

All in all, the collection contains more than 29,000 specimens from over 4,300 species. In addition to common birds, there are also examples of extremely rare birds such as the Kinglet Calyptura. The Passenger Pigeon or Carolina Parakeet, both of which are now extinct, enrich the collection.

Most of the specimens come from injured birds, for example after being hit by road traffic, after flying into windows, landing on power cables or being attacked by cats. We work closely with the Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach. We store all of the ringed birds that are found dead for documentation of the ring recovery details. Many of the specimens also come from research expeditions to South East Asia and South America, however. Key ornithological collectors include Walter Markl, Gustavo Orcès, Fritz and Paul Sarasin, Gustav Schneider, and Ernst Sutter.