Advanced methods for studying pigments and coloration using avian specimens

Kevin J. Burns, Kevin J. McGraw, Allison J. Shultz, Mary Caswell Stoddard, Daniel B. Thomas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

18 Scopus citations


Advanced analyses of feathers, eggs, and other colorful tissues in ornithology collections are revealing fresh insights into the life histories of birds. Here, we describe the methods used in these studies, including high-performance liquid chromatography, digital photography, Raman spectroscopy, and spectrophotometry. We use case studies from across the diversity of birds and from deep in the fossil record to illustrate method usage, limitations, and other considerations for analyzing museum specimens. Structural colors in feathers and the surface coloration of eggs are particularly emphasized

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Extended Specimen
Subtitle of host publicationEmerging Frontiers in Collections-Based Ornithological Research
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9781498729161
ISBN (Print)9781498729154
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Engineering


  • Digital photography
  • Egg pigmentation
  • High-performance liquid chromatography
  • Hyperspectral imaging
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Structural coloration


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