PINK PIGEON

Nesoenas Mayeri

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RANGE: S.W. Mauritius, Indian Ocean

HABITAT: Sub-tropical Forest

SIZE: About 33cms (just over one foot).

DIET: Fruit, seeds & vegetation.

CONSERVATION STATUS: Endangered. In 1976 less than 20 in the wild.

NOTES: A relative of the extinct Dodo and the worlds rarest and most endangered pigeon. Nearly extinct with a wild population in 1976 estimated at around 30. A very successful captive breeding program with releases back into the wild, following intensive predator control to eliminate introduced rats, was introduced by Durrell Wildlife Preservation Trust to pull this bird back from the abyss.

"They sat side by side on the branch, their breasts glowing pale cyclamen-pink in the rays of the sinking sun, occasionally rubbing beaks in what, for pigeons, was a passionate kiss. From time to time one I took to be the male would bow to the female and give his loud, husky chant. The female, like all female pigeons, succeeded in looking vacant, affronted and hysterical all at once, like a Regency maiden about to have the vapours."

GOLDEN BATS & PINK PIGEONS © Gerald Durrell 1977

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