Rodrigues Solitaire
Pezophaps solitaria

AKA: Rodrigues Solitary


The Rodriguez Solitaire is known from a large number of bones found on the island of Rodriguez in the Indian Ocean. No mounted specimens of the Rodriguez Solitaire exist.

Most of our knowledge of its appearance and behaviour is derived from the account of the French Huguenot François Leguet, who was marooned on the island between 1691 and 1693.

Amongst other peculiarities, Leguat described the birds' odd nesting behaviour. For example, a pair would not allow any other Rodriguez Solitaire near the nest. If intruders did appear, males would drive off rival males, while females dealt with females. Whenever a male was confronted with a female intruder it called its partner to chase the stranger off.

The Huguenots also praised the birds for their flavour. The young, who were caught in the summer, were considered a particular delicacy. They were easy to catch, due to their inability to fly.

Leguat's account was written around 1690. From an anonymous author we know the Rodriguez Solitaire was still quite common in 1730. The birds were heavily hunted by humans and predated by introduced cats. The Rodriguez Solitaire was very rare by 1755, when Cossigny tried to obtain one without success, but was told that the species did still survive. When a French research vessel visited the island in 1761, it also did not find any Rodriguez Solitaires, even though inhabitants claimed that some were still here. If the species still survived in 1761, it probably became extinct shortly after.

The closest relatives of the Rodriguez Solitaire are the Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) and the Réunion Solitaire (Raphus solitarius).




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