Fauna Toolkit: Bird Bones

Bones from living and extinct bird species

A portal to 3D digitised models of bird bones from museum collections.

234 entries from 65 species in 29 families and 19 orders are now available from the Index below.

Established and maintained with support from
Massey University
Canterbury Museum
Auckland Museum

Scroll through the table or use the filter panel to find 3D digitised bird bones. You can filter using one word at a time. The filter can be reset by clicking the Filter button when there are no words entered into the panel.

Click on any of the fields in the row to view the corresponding 3D model.

e.g. "Sphenisciformes" or "penguin" or "femur"


Each bone in the database refers to the method used to make the 3D model of that bone. Click on a title to collapse or expand the method details.


DAVID SLS-2 (structured light 3D scanner)

From Wikipedia: "...Structured light is the process of projecting a known pattern (often grids or horizontal bars) on to a scene. The way that these deform when striking surfaces allows vision systems to calculate the depth and surface information of the objects in the scene, as used in structured light 3D scanners..." We used an SLS-2 structured light 3D scanning system from DAVID Vision Systems GmbH (Koblenz, Germany; a subsidiary of HP Inc.). The structured light 3D scanning system included a 1280 9 960 pixel CMOS monochrome camera (DAVID-CAM-3.1-M; DAVID Vision Systems) and a K132 + DLP projector (Acer Incorporated, New Taipei City, Taiwan) mounted on a support bar, with the support bar attached to a tripod. Cables from the scanner and camera were attached to a laptop computer operating DAVID 3 software (version; DAVID Vision Systems). The camera was positioned to the left of the projector on the support bar and rotated approximately 21° clockwise. The position and height of the tripod relative to the specimen, as well as the distance between the camera and projector, were adjusted until the specimen appeared in the centre of the camera view (determined from the live camera feed). The projector focus, camera focus, and camera exposure were each adjusted to produce the sharpest image of the specimen (determined from the live camera feed). The scanner was then calibrated with the 60 mm pattern on the supplied calibration panels. The dorsal surface of the specimen was imaged in eight scans by rotating the specimen approximately 45° clockwise between scans. The specimen was flipped for the ventral side to be imaged in eight scans. The specimen was then rotated onto a lateral edge for imaging, and a small dark object was positioned under the specimen to rest against. The object was repositioned for the anterior and posterior surfaces to be imaged. The collection, editing and fusing of 3D scan data was performed with DAVID 3 software. Scans were loaded into DAVID 3 and vertices from the scanning backgrounds were removed. Individual scans were aligned using the inbuilt alignment tools and a composite model was formed. Some scans completely overlapped with other scans already in the composite model and were discarded. The composite model was fused using the inbuilt fusion tool at 500 resolution (filled model and high resolution options were selected). The final fused model had a resolution of 0.20 mm between vertices. Text adapted from: Thomas DB, Hiscox JD, Dixon BJ, Potgieter J. 2016. 3D scanning and printing skeletal tissues foranatomy education. Journal of Anatomy doi: 10.1111/joa.12484

CT scanning

From Wikipedia: "...A CT scan, also known as computed tomography scan, and formerly known as a computerized axial tomography scan or CAT scan, makes use of computer-processed combinations of many X-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional (tomographic) images (virtual "slices") of specific areas of a scanned object, allowing the user to see inside the object without cutting..."

Additional resources

Fauna toolkit: Bird Bones complements the excellent resources for bird osteology that are already available online, including:

  • Aves 3D. A three dimensional database of avian skeletal morphology.

  • Baumel JJ, Witmer LM. 4. Osteologia. In: Baumel JJ (Ed.) Handbook of Avian Anatomy: Nomina Anatomic Avium. Second edition. Publications of the Nuttall Ornithological Club No. 23, Cambridge, MA, USA. Download from WitmerLab.

  • Ghetie, V. (1976). Anatomical Atlas of Domestic Birds. Academiei
    Republicii Socialiste Romania. Download from WitmerLab.


If Fauna Toolkit: Bird Bones helps with your research then please consider using the following citation:

Thomas DB, Annan G, Rayner MJ, Scofield RP (2019). Fauna Toolkit: Bird bones. Bones from living and extinct bird species. Auckland, New Zealand. URL http://www.faunatoolkit.com

Contact Us

If you have any questions or comments about Fauna Toolkit: Bird bones then please contact Dr Daniel Thomas using the form below.

Background images

Background images are from Auckland Museum Collections Online. Images are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licences. Image copyrights are owned by Auckland Museum.


Hypertext links to external websites from this website do not constitute an endorsement of content, goods or services offered on such websites. No responsibility is taken for the accuracy and timeliness of information provided on external websites referenced herein.


Dr Daniel Thomas, Senior Lecturer in Vertebrate Zoology

School of Natural & Computational Sciences

Massey University

Auckland, New Zealand