Much like dinosaurs, the dodo birds no longer exist in this world but their presence are still perpetuated in popular culture. We may never have the chance to see a dodo bird in this lifetime.
But luckily for us, we still have the chance to see the closest living relative to the famous dodo bird – the Nicobar pigeon. Although these beautiful pigeons are related to the extinct flightless bird of Mauritius Island, these two looked nothing alike.
Dodo birds are characterized by their bulbous beak, dull greyish plumage, and portly frame. The Nicobar pigeon, on the other hand, has thin pointed beak, vibrant plumage, and a compact frame. Considered one of the most beautiful species of pigeons, these island birds have dark slate grey body with iridescent blue-green and copper-bronze upperparts. Their lustrous feathers are further glamorized with glistening neck hackles and contrasting white tail.
The Nicobar Pigeon Is The Closest Living Relative To The Dodo Bird
These beautiful birds are found on small islands of Nicobar in India. They developed their vibrant iridescent plumage due to the lack of natural predators on the small islands. Since there’s no need to camouflage themselves against predators, they were able to develop colorful, dazzling feathers that made them stand out from other species of pigeons or doves.
Aside from the fact that both species are island birds, the other thing that makes the Nicobar pigeon similar to the dodo bird is its inclination towards extinction. Sadly, these spectacular ground-dwelling birds are listed as ‘near threatened’ due to hunting, habitat loss, and the introduction of non-native predators like cats and rats to their breeding islands.
Take note that these were the same reasons the dodo birds disappeared from nature three hundred years ago. Are we going to commit the same mistake again?