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Species of the month[edit]


Raphus cucullatus

Raphus cucullatus

Some facts about this bird:

Height: Around 1 meter.
Length of bill: 23 cm.
Weight: 20 kg.
Diet: Fruit.
Range: Endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
Conservation status: Extinct.
First described: By Linnaeus in 1758.

Have you heard the phrase "As dead as a Dodo"? Well, it's after Raphus cucullatus. This magnificent bird unfortunately no longer exists. It went extinct in 1681, as a result of the introduction of feral populations of cats, dogs and pigs by Portuguese sailors to the island of Mauritius. Being flightless and ground-nesting, the dodo had no chance against the introduced animals. These birds are related to pigeons and the name is slang for a dull-witted and slow person, based on the belief that the bird's demise came about from its stupidity.

(Archived from Template:Species of the week)