Explore the diversity and evolution of birds with this web interactive based on the Wall of Birds mural. Envisioned by Cornell Lab ornithologists and realized by artist Jane Kim, the large-scale mural features species from all surviving bird families alongside a select group of extinct ancestors.
Meet a bird from each taxonomic family
Meet an outstanding representative of each of the bird families of the world. Each of the 243 representatives is meticulously painted in life-sized, colorful detail to showcase the unique character of the species. Explore the map and click on any of the birds to get to know them better.
See where each bird species lives
A foot of each bird touches the world map at a point where you can find that species. For a more complete picture of their ranges, browse to the dynamically-updated eBird sightings map provided with each description.
Listen to birds from around the world
Each species has a distinctive voice—some musical, some comical, and some startling. Listen to a host of extraordinary voices by playing embedded field recordings from the Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library.
Explore the origins of modern birds
Extinct species appear on the mural in black-and-white to remind us of the deep evolutionary roots of modern-day birds. Explore the ancestors and learn what key discoveries link them to the birds we see today.
The mural’s title From So Simple a Beginning: Celebrating the Evolution and Diversity of Birds, inspired by a quote from Charles Darwin, reflects the evolutionary journey it paints—from dinosaurs to present-day birds. The wall invites viewers first to marvel at the diversity of birds and then to contemplate the evolutionary forces that brought them into being, spread them across the globe, and led to their dazzling variety of forms and colors.
“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, 1859