Reunion Solitaire
Raphus solitarius

AKA: White Dodo, Solitaire Dodo, Reunion Dodo


This dodo species lived on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. This island belongs, just like the island of Mauritius where the more commonly known Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) lived, to the group of islands called Mascarens. On another island that belongs to the Mascarens is Rodriguez. On this island lived another Solitaire, the Rodriguez Solitaire (Pezophaps solitaria).

The last Réunion Solitaire died in 1746.

The Reunion Solitaire was first recorded in 1625 and survived at least until 1750, by which time the French had colonies on the island. Became extinct; due likely to introduced pigs, cats & human inhabitation.

Said to have a sexual dimorphism that had been surmised from the variations in the illustrations of the species and may be pure speculation. No preserved specimens exist & no evidence survives that any living bird ever reached Europe. No sub-fossils or remains have been found to prove the existence of the "dodo like" bird on Reunion Island. All that is available are the accounts & the illustrations; even though brief, but are convincingly enough to leave little doubt that they did exist. 

From the old paintings & descriptions the bird was very much like the Dodo. Length about 1,000mm. A large & fat bird with a heavy , hooked-tipped bill, bare skin surrounding the face, small wings (rendering it flightless); ostrich-like tail which curled downward & a long neck. Another account states the legs were a little longer than those of a turkey; plumage was said to be white, some authors mention a yellow tinge & black tips to the primary & tail feathers. Bill was black, greyish or light fawn on the tip, base & facial skin yellow, greyish or greenish (colors taken from paintings which are unlikely to be unreliable). No juvenile information recorded.

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