Raphus Cucullatus more commonly known as Dodo, is an extinct bird that was unable to fly but could run at a great speed. The bird Dodo was endemic to the drier coastal areas of Mauritius, in the east of Madagascar that is located in the Indian Ocean.
The last sighting of Dodo was reported in the year 1681. Scientists have identified various facts behind the extinction of this flightless bird among which human-hunting holds the top position. Within 100 years of human arrival in the land of Mauritius, the once abundant species became a rare one.
Interesting Fact Files about Dodo Bird
Male Dodo birds were larger than the females. Dodo bird measured around 3.3 feet and weighed between 10-18 kg. Research and evidence suggests that Dodo showed bare neck with yellow beak and feet. It also had brownish –grey plumage. The beak of Dodo measured almost 23 cm.
Dodo is a terrestrial bird and had no natural predators as they lived in an endemic area. They lived in complete isolation in the island. As they were flightless, they were unable to fly to other nearby land masses. They made nests on the ground instead of trees.
As the Dodo birds resided in the coastal region of Mauritius, they relied on ripe fruits, seeds, nuts, bulbs, fallen fruits, palm fruits, shellfish and even crabs to satisfy their hunger. They used gizzard stones to ease the digestion process.
The Dodo birds were flightless as they really did not need to fly. The area in which they survived had abundance of food which restricted them to explore the other areas. Moreover, there were basically no potential predators on the Mauritian island. It is fact that adaptation of flight takes place only when it is a necessity. This necessity was missing in the life of the Dodo.
The Portuguese sailors were the first to step on the island of Mauritius and soon the land became the stopover for the sailors. Dodo birds became a great source of fresh meat and were hunted in numbers. Another most important reason behind the extinction of the bird is the introduction of other species by humans within the habitat of the Dodo. These species like monkeys, pigs, rodents, etc preyed upon the eggs from the ground nest of the Dodo birds and even killed the full grown Dodo as they were a great source of meat.
The extinction of Dodo bird is a lesson for the human world.