The World of Birds opened 50 years ago on June 16, 1972. It was widely considered one of the most innovative zoo exhibits at the time, and it continues to be a Bronx Zoo icon today. It covers 30,000 square feet and is home to 350 birds including hornbills, turkeys, birds-of-paradise, bee-eaters, doves, tinamous, weavers, finches, parrots, toucans, and more! Inside, there are habitats from all over the world–deserts, rainforests with waterfalls and simulated storms, forests, and more.
Join us for two special weekends at the Bronx Zoo. Events are included with your admission ticket.
Saturday, May 14 & Sunday, May 15 10AM - 4PM
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic Bronx Zoo World of Birds exhibit by learning more about its residents as well as the birds that migrate through the Bronx Zoo each spring. Pick up a tally sheet upon entry and see how many birds you can find!
Scavenger hunt: Find birds in the Bronx Zoo and in the wild
Learn all about the different species in World of Birds
The Bronx Zoo is the only AZA-accredited zoo in North America that currently breeds capercaillie. Our keepers work to provide the optimum conditions for these birds to display their amazing courtship behaviors, mate, and lay eggs. We have successfully hatched eggs and reared capercaillie chicks, and shared our knowledge and experience with other zoos who want to develop breeding programs and further strengthen capercaillie populations in zoos for the future.
A Mission to Save Maleos
Maleos are chicken-like birds from Indonesia. Excellent diggers, they bury their eggs in warm, volcanic sand that is at optimum temperatures for incubation. When the chicks hatch, they emerge out of the sand and go solo into the forest. The Bronx Zoo is the only zoo in the world with a maleo breeding program. We also work in Indonesia to protect the few remaining maleo nesting grounds. We collect eggs at these sites and incubate them using protocols developed at the Bronx Zoo to protect from predation. When the chicks hatch, we release them into the forest. This head-start program helps ensure more chicks survive and contributes to the sustainability of the species.
Tinamous are largely terrestrial birds that are native to Central and South America. Though tinamous can fly, their abilities are limited and they prefer to walk or run. Keepers noticed that our male tinamou was unable to incubate the pair’s eggs because the female was laying them throughout the exhibit rather than in one spot. We stepped in and constructed a “nest” for her to use when laying her eggs. This simple intervention eventually resulted in successful incubation and a successful hatch.
Exhibit Design Innovation
Creating an Immersive Rainforest
The Bronx Zoo’s World of Birds was one of the first exhibits to use immersive displays where visitors share naturalistic habitats with the animals. This also tells a broader story about birds and where they live. To make a rainforest come alive, we built watering systems to power a 40-foot waterfall, plus misting systems, sounds, and strobe lights to replicate a thunderstorm.
Designing Artificial Rockwork
In 1972, we built a 120-by-50-foot cliff using an innovative method of creating latex molds of rock formations in the NJ Palisades and casting pieces of the cliff from those molds. Artists pieced them together, sculpted over the seams, and carefully painted the entire surface to create the look of a large, unified cliff face.
The Bronx Zoo was one of the first zoos to exhibit birds without visible barriers. We prototyped barrierless displays in our 1964 design of the Aquatic Bird House and expanded upon them at World of Birds in 1972. The birds don’t fly into the dark public area because they prefer to stay where they have light, shelter, perches, and food – all the comforts of home! The lack of barriers creates a sense of closeness between visitors and birds and allows people to better appreciate birds’ beauty and behavior.
Sign our digital birthday card
Share a memory, your favorite bird, or a message to our keepers or field staff.