Erakina

The endemic flightless birds-Erakina

Published Date : March 25, 2022

The Extinct Bird from Mauritius referred to subfamily of Raphidae

These are clades of extinct flightless birds which are part of the family of pigeons and doves. 

Raphus cucullatus

Bird with white body colour appearance

Classification

     Kingdom –  Animalia

     Phylum –     Chordata 

     Class –        Aves 

     Order-         Columbiformes

     Family –      Columbidae

     Genus-        Raphus 

     Species-      cucullatus

These birds are flightless and  now extinct from the world by 1681. As the name is not yet decided for these birds and also lot of confusion taken place at that time so dutch captain named them as Wallow bird and some sailors also called them as Penguins They belong to Mauritius, an island in the Indian ocean.they are considered closest to pigeons and closest relatives are called Nicobar pigeons.the other two species are Raphus solitarius of reunion (extinct by 1746) and Pezophaps solitaria of rodrigues (extinct by 1790). 

This dodo is bigger than turkey with grey-blue plumage, small useless wings and tufts of curly wings. Reunion solitaire is the white version of the dodo and rodrigues have wings of knob, tall and slender. Many solitaire have bones which are preserved. As dodo don’t have natural predators so they preferred to lay eggs one at a time and no requirement to develop defenses hence they were considered to be less intelligent and lazy.they feed on seeds, nuts, fallen fruits and roots.

dodo bird

fossil remains of dodo

The living specimens of this bird were taken to europe by dutch and portuguese sailors but they didn’t survive in the long journey so the parts of their body are now kept in museums like handful of remains of dried head and single foot in Oxford Museum of Natural History and parts of skull and leg bones in University of Copenhagen Zoological Museum and National Museum of Prague. 

These are mostly hunted by the humans; they kill these birds for their gizzards as these are easy to catch. Scientist also have processed De-extinction, a scientific program by which they can bring the bird back into existence as there are remains of this bird to extract it’s soft tissues and  fragmented DNA as dodo share genetically with nicobar pigeon so it can be possible to surrogate in them and taken care can be a possibility.

Pragya Joshi

15/12/2021

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