Re: birding-aus morphological measurements

Subject: Re: birding-aus morphological measurements
From: Peter Woodall <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 09:50:54 +1000
At 09:01 12/01/2000 +1000, you wrote:
>As part of a study I am conducting I require some morphological
>measurements on a number of Australian birds.  If any one knows
>of where I could obtain such information I would appreciate it.
>The type of measurements I am interested in are:
> Wingspan: the extreme tip-to-tip distance with the wings
>           spread to the maximum extent
> Wing Area: the projected area of both wings including the
>           area of body between the wings
>or alternatively and prefered:
>  Aspect ratio or Wing loading


>but information on other species would also be useful.
>Lynda Chambers
>Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre


These are not standard measurements of birds so you are unlikely to find them in
most reference books on birds.

However, I would go to your local museum and see what specimens they might have
with wings outspread. I know the Queensland Museum, and probably others, are
preserving more specimens like this so that the wing patterns are more visible
and so that functional studies, like yours, can be undertaken.

While we're on this can I make a plug for people to take fresh specimens in to 
their local museum.  The days of collecting/shooting birds for museum
are largely over but road/window/cat/ etc kills can make valuable
contributions to
the collections.

Anyone who has tried to do serious studies on morphology will know that you
can never
have too many specimens.

In the past most specimens were prepared as standard "study skins" but today
are prepared in a variety of ways - skeletons, wings, in spirits, for DNA, etc.

Don't forget that the wonderful pictures and detailed descriptions of plumage,
moult, morphology, etc that we see in the field guides and handbooks
(HANZAB, HBW, etc)
are largely based on museum specimens.

Pete (an ex-Hon. Keeper of Ornithology, getting off his hobby horse)

Dr Peter Woodall                          email = 
Division of Vet Pathology & Anatomy             
School of Veterinary Science.             Phone = +61 7 3365 2300
The University of Queensland              Fax   = +61 7 3365 1355
Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4072             WWW  =
"hamba phezulu" (= "go higher" in isiZulu)


To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to

Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU