Dodo Bird Facts All Children Should Definitely Remember!

Ritwik Bhuyan
Oct 28, 2022 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Nov 15, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Learn these amazing dodo bird facts!

The dodo bird was once endemic to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean where the species thrived.

Dodo birds belonged to the family Columbidae which also includes birds like pigeons and doves. These birds can fly, but dodo birds could not and this is due to the fact that the species did not need to.

Dodo bird was grounded and had no need for legs as the species was native to the island of Mauritius and there were no predators threatening their existence.

By the process of natural selection, flightlessness was later evolved in dodo birds and hence, they were grounded forever. A dodo bird was last seen in 1662 and the bird species was very rarely seen by then.

Although this year has been marked as the year of extinction of the dodo birds, scientists believe that the birds actually went extinct in 1690.

Once the Dutch sailors landed on the island of Mauritius, dodo birds started to go extinct as they could not fly or even save themselves from predators. People believe that the Dutch sailors killed and ate the flightless dodo birds, but the birds might have gone extinct due to the animals that the Dutch sailors brought with them.

They brought dogs and cats, ship rats, and pigs that are thought to be part of the reason for the extinction of the flightless dodo birds.

The animals were thought to have invaded the space of the dodos and outcompeted them for food. The animals also fed on the eggs which led to the steady decline of the population of the flightless dodos and then extinction soon after.

The extinction of the dodo bird is a reminder to everyone to look around and see what humans have done to the animals.

This is particularly applicable for species of animals living in isolated islands that are native to the region.

Island birds are especially more prone to being extinct by outside disturbances as they are already accustomed to a life without predators and have evolved in that manner too. Scientists believe that humans will help in the extinction of many species of birds and animal species if the work is not checked.

After going extinct in the 17th century, dodos are still remembered by the people of today. Scientific data suggests that dodos were not intelligent and went extinct due to the fact that they could not adapt to their new surroundings.

These findings on the dodo's lifestyle were later said to be false. Humans started cutting down the trees in the habitat of this bird species and also brought other non-native animal species with them that threatened the life of the dodos.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about famous birds and the highest flying bird here on Kidadl?

Why is the dodos so famous?

Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) is popular in history due to the fact that people thought the flightless birds were really dumb and has been portrayed as such in all the recent descriptions of the birds.

Dodos reside on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and this was the only home of the dodo bird in the entire world. The Portuguese sailors first saw the birds in 1507 and subsequently were killed by their introduced animals after that.

The Dutch and Portuguese sailors brought with them their pets and livestock that proved to be invasive to the dumb dodo bird and this is why the species became extinct.

The bird's legacy became the undoing as the bird was said to be really dumb and got exterminated easily from Mauritius. The name dodo is even taken from the Portuguese word doudo which means simpleton.

Genetic analysis of the specimens recovered was done and the report showed that the closest living relatives of the dodo bird are the Nicobar pigeon.

This bird is smaller in appearance and is found across the southern Pacific region. Rodrigues solitaire is another bird that is now extinct and was considered a relative of the dodos.

Like dodos laid one egg at a time, these birds also laid one egg at a time and when the settlers came, the birds were unprepared for the situation and soon the eggs started getting eaten and subsequently became extinct.

How fast did a dodo fly?

Dodos were actually flightless and had small useless wings. Dodos evolved into being flightless even though they were a part of the family of pigeon and dove called Columbidae.

The birds with the genus Raphus were covered fully in feathers and had grayish or brownish bodies.

Dodo's body was attached to a big head, a blackish beak with almost red sheath forming the hooked tip, stout yellow legs, small useless wings, and a tuft of curly feathers on the rear side.

Dodo's legs were known to be quite strong which indicates that the bird was actually a quick runner. Scientific research based on the remains of the bird, along with the visual representation of the animal says that the bird was very quick and hard to catch.

Dodo bird extinction facts can take a lot longer list to complete as this interesting bird has a lot of history when it comes to the significance of the species.

The dodo bird from the island of Mauritius lived alone in the island until settlers came and destroyed the peace. They could not fly away, either run much and were killed eventually.

What was the dodo's habitat?

This flightless bird with a large head had a peculiar appearance according to the renders made. The dodo bird was the native resident of the island of Mauritius until predators killed every last one of the bird species.

The beak was probably the only defense the dodo birds used against the predators of the island as they could not fly.

The dodo bird was found only on the island of Mauritius, 500 mi (800 km) away from the eastern shore of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. The bird mostly stayed in the forest and sometimes came out to the shore to enjoy the sunset.

As the dodo bird could not fly like pigeons and doves, the bird had no other option than to remain on the landmass. Until human interference, life was going well for the dodo bird in the forests of Mauritius.

Dodo Physical Characteristics

The dodo birds of Mauritius were peculiar-looking birds as found after scientific research on the bones and specimens uncovered.

Although the dodo falls in the same family as pigeons, both species look quite different from one other. Believed to stay inside the forest habitat of Mauritius, the dodo bird had a height of around 3 ft (91.4 cm) and had gray feathers.

A white tail was also known to be present. The dodo had very small wings and breast bones, however, the bird was heavy.

The dodo weighed around 28-50 lb (12.7-22.6 kg). As the dodo bird was heavy and had small wings, it made the bird unable to fly and hence became easy food for human settlers and their pets.

Dodo Reproduction, Babies, And Lifespan

Female dodo birds laid eggs to reproduce.

As the dodo birds are long gone, there is not much information on the breeding process or the incubation period of the dodo bird. Dodo birds were flightless and were thought to build their nests on the ground. Only one egg was laid by the female dodo bird. The estimated gestation period was considered to be around 49 days.

Modern scientific methods were used to determine what dodo birds eat and how long it took to give birth. It was tested from the remains of the head and foot of a dodo in Oxford, a head in Copenhagen, a foot in the British Museum, and other parts all over the world, including the US.

The average lifespan of the dodo bird was considered to be up to 30 years. Humans added the dodo birds to their diet and that started the series of extinction of these birds.

What killed the dodo bird?

Human interference on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean killed the dodo birds.

Dodo birds used to thrive in the region until the Dutch and Portuguese soldiers settled in the islands. Many believed that the sailors actually fed on the dodo birds, but later was found that the animals these sailors brought with them started killing the dodo birds for food and also ate the eggs laid.

Dodo birds laid only one egg, so this made the population reduce at quite a fast pace and soon the birds became extinct.

It is quite fascinating to find how the dodo bird had an omnivorous diet, while the modern relative - Nicobar pigeons have a herbivorous diet and eat mostly plant materials.

Can dodo birds still be alive?

No, dodos have been extinct for quite a long time now and there is no possibility of the dodo birds being alive.

Dodo birds are only alive as museum artifacts and not in real life. There are relatives of dodo birds that are still living on the planet, but the original dodo birds were known to be extinct in 1690.

Even after being extinct for such a long time, dodos are quite popular still due to the easy way the bird became extinct.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for dodo bird facts, then why not take a look at the biggest bird of prey or dodo facts.

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Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritwik Bhuyan picture

Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

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