[email protected] Talk: Dr. Juan Carlos Gonzalez

Talk on "Type ko ba yan? Where in the world are the Philippine bird holotypes?" delivered by Dr. Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez, MNH curator for birds, during UPLB Museum of Natural History Special Webinars themed "Continuing Excellence Through Adversity: Creating Partnerships, Fruitful Research, and Digitized Collections" last 29 September 2022.


Birds are among the most recognizable components of museum collections. The Smithsonian Institution (USNM) has one the largest bird collections in the world, but the Natural History Museum (NHM) in Tring has the widest representation and coverage of avian taxa. In this talk, I will present an overview of the history and distribution of bird holotypes and bird collections from the Philippines. Many of these discovered new taxa resulted from historical field expeditions to the Philippine islands, often by collaborative museum expeditions such as those by Whitehead, Bourns & Worcester, McGregor, Hachisuka and Rabor. However, what are holotypes? Why do museums publish types and why are they valued? The Heritage law limits the acquisition of type locally. Hence, where are the types of most recently described birds like the Calayan Rail, Bukidnon Woodcock and Sierra Madre Ground Babbler. Dickinson et al. (1991) documents the types of endemic Philippine birds, and indicates the location of important types like those known to be critically endangered, like the Walden’s hornbill in Michigan, Sulu hornbill in Paris, and Cebu Flowerpecker & Philippine Eagle in NHM. From this, I will summarize where are most of the types deposited and whether there are any in Philippines. Global museum collections with notable Philippine bird specimens include KU, Field Museum, Delaware MNH, Yale Peabody, USNM, Hamburg and NHM, among others. The Philippine Museums with substantial bird collections are the Philippine National NMH, UPLB-MNH, MSU Aga Khan, Silliman University, and UST, among others. Are there issues about repatriation of types? It may be too late for some species, as there are birds gone for good like the Luzon Crane and Ticao Hornbill, or the very last chance for the Sulu Bleedingheart and Negros Fruit-dove. What are the significant use of the D.S. Rabor bird collection at UPLB-MNH?

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