Biology

Mounted specimen of a dodo

A model of the dodo (Raphus cucullatus), covered in swan and goose feathers. This extinct, large, flightless bird was probably much more upright and graceful than depicted in many images. There are no stuffed dodos in existence.

Although the dodo is probably the most famous bird in the world, we know very little about its biology.

Contemporary accounts describe the taste of their meat, but give little or no information about their feeding, their mating rituals, their calls or other behaviour.

Before the Dutch claimed Mauritius in the late 1500s, this large, flightless bird had no natural predators and laid its eggs on the ground. This made them an easy target for introduced species such as rats and pigs.

No genuine dodo eggs are known, although ostrich eggs have been passed off as dodo eggs.