Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Dodo (Didus ineptus), a large bird allied to the pigeons. It was abundant in Mauritius, to which it appears to have been confined, but became extinct towards the close of the seventeenth century, within a little less than forty years after the colonisation of the island by the Dutch. The fact that it was excellent eating was perhaps the chief factor in its extermination, but the dogs, pigs, and cats introduced by the colonists largely contributed to this result, for many of them became more or less feral and fed on the eggs and the young birds. The dodo - from the Portuguese doudo (zzz stupid), the name given it by the discoverers of Mauritius - was a heavy, helpless bird, about the size of a turkey, with short stout legs, rudimentary tail and wings and very large bill, the upper mandible hooked at the point. The plumage was shades of grey, with some yellow on the wings and tail. Some specimens were brought alive to Europe, and remains exist in various museums. In 1866 in draining a swamp in Mauritius a large quantity of bones was discovered, and from these the skeleton was practically reconstructed, so that the question of the affinity of the dodo to the pigeon was settled.