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Bird islands of Peru

Identifier: Film Collection no. 16

Scope and Contents

Filmed during the Brooklyn Museum's Peruvian Littoral Expedition, 1919-1920. This film was made during the expedition to the islands off Peru under the auspices of the Brooklyn Museum. Robert Cushman Murphy, who was then a curator of the Department of Natural Science at the Brooklyn Museum, led the expedition and narrates the film. The expedition went to study the guano-producing birds on these islands. Some of the footage in this film was purchased from the National Guano Administration of Peru. The film shows many islands: the Islands of Santa Rosa with 5,600,000 nesting cormorants, and the pelican colony of Lobos de Afuera. On Santa Rosa, an Indian and his burro pass through the colony as the birds open and close ranks around them. Many native vessels are seen in the surrounding sea: caballito, totora reed boats, balsa and rig-balsa boats. Native villages of driftwood houses are also seen. It is the bird footage, however, that is the main emphasis of this film. Seen are Peruvian cormorants (courting, nesting, fledglings and juveniles are seen flying and feeding), toreador gulls (feeding), sea mockingbirds, Humboldt penguins (including a study of a chick), white Peruvian boobies, turkey vultures, pelicans (nesting, flying, fledglings and juveniles), kelp gulls, blue footed boobies (including an altercation between a juvenile gull and an adult booby when the youngster tries to enter the booby's nest) and a sequence of booby courtship. There is also footage of Peruvian sea lions. Robert Cushman Murphy added a sound-track to this film in the late 1920s so that the film could be distributed along with Simba by Talking Pictures Epics.


  • [1920?]


Language of Materials



1 Film Reel (20 minutes) : sound, black and white ; 35 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (20 minutes)) : sound, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Original format: 35 mm. print.


Murphy, Robert Cushman. Bird Islands of Peru. New York: Putnam, 1925.


Robert Cushman Murphy, photographer and narrator; Epics Orchestra, music.

Bird islands of Peru, [1920?]
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Research Library Special Collections Repository

American Museum of Natural History
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