Feather Expert Roxie Laybourne

ID: SIA2009-2205

Creator: Minor-Penland, Laurie

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: 1990

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 98-016, Box 1, Folder: Photos/No. 60 Spring 1990

Usage Conditions Apply
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  • Feather expert Roxie Laybourne examines one of the many feathers that arrive at her office. Tucked away in a small office in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Laybourne is the world's leading expert on feather identification. She first began work at the Smithsonian in 1944.
  • Roxie C. Laybourne originated the science of forensic ornithology. Often called the "feather detective," Laybourne used feathers to identify bird-strike accidents in military and commercial aircraft, to solve crimes for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to identify feathers unearthed by archeologists, and to recognize species of endangered, poached, or illegally killed birds.


  • Laybourne, Roxie C. 1910-2003
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Dept. of Zoology
  • Department of Zoology (USNM)
  • United States National Museum Dept. of Biology Division of Birds
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Division of Birds


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • This image found in Smithsonian Institution Research Reports Spring 1990.
  • For more images of Roxie Laybourne, see SIA2009-2205, SIA2010-0575, SIA2010-0580, SIA2010-0639, SIA2014-07398, SIA2014-07403, SIA2014-07404, SIA2014-07405, SIA2014-07406, SIA2014-07407, SIA2014-07411, SIA2014-07413, SIA2014-07417, SIA2014-07421, SIA2014-07431, SIA2014-07434, SIA2014-07441, SIA2014-07442, and SIA2014-07448.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 98-016, Box 1, Folder: Photos/No. 60 Spring 1990

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu



Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Women
  • Animals
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Zoology
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Forensic sciences
  • Specimens
  • Birds
  • Employees
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees
  • Ornithologists
  • Ornithology
  • Zoologists


  • Photographic print
  • Person, candid

ID Number


Physical description

Color: Black and White; Size: 8w x 10h; Type of Image: Person, candid; Medium: Photographic print

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