The Dodo’s closest living relative has been found in Australia. Native to South East Asia and the South Pacific the bird has made a staggering journey all the way to Western Australia’s north.
The Indigenous Bardi Jawi rangers came across the modern dodo last month in Chile creek on the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberley region. The near endangered bird originally hails from the Solomon Islands and India, so it has travelled a long way.
The bird has been spotted around the area frequently, before being captured at One Arm Point earlier this week. Senior ranger Kevin George says:
We immediately knew it wasn't a native species, but we had no idea how far it had actually come from to get here. Following some of our own research, we've been able to identify the species as a Nicobar pigeon, an island-dwelling bird. We don't know how the bird got here - whether it flew all the way from Indonesia, India or the Solomons if it island hopped or came by boat.
Image: The Nicobar Pigeon, Wikimedia Commons
This bird has since been removed by The Department of Agriculture officials for quarantine.
A pretty impressive feat for a bird related to the flightless dodo.
In 2002 an American geneticist Beth Shapiro analysed the dodo bird’s DNA and found that our friend the Nicobar Pigeon was the dodo’s closest relative. Unlike the Nicobar pigeon, the dodo’s pelvis was thicker to support higher weight it also had underdeveloped wings and pectoral muscles, which prevented the dodo from flying.
Regardless, even for a pigeon, flying from India to Australia is pretty amazing.
Header Wikimedia Commons