Mauritius photo of Pink Pigeon endemic bird of Mauritius

Pink Pigeon endemic bird of Mauritius

Photography by Photographer Saleem A Sam
860 views  /  Date taken : Thu, Aug 26 2021
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The Pink Pigeon, also known as the Mauritius Pink Pigeon, is a species of bird that is endemic to the island of Mauritius. The bird is known for its distinctive pink coloring and is considered one of the rarest birds in the world, with a current estimated population of less than 500 individuals.

The Pink Pigeon is a medium-sized bird, measuring approximately 40-42 cm in length and weighing between 350-450 grams. The bird has a plump body, short neck, and broad wings, with a long, pointed tail. The male and female birds are similar in appearance, with the males having slightly brighter coloring on their feathers.

The Pink Pigeon's most distinctive feature is its pink coloring, which is most prominent on its chest and belly. The rest of its body is grayish-brown, with black markings on its wings and tail. The bird also has a distinctive red beak and red legs, which add to its striking appearance.

The Pink Pigeon is primarily found in the forests of Mauritius, where it feeds on a variety of fruits, seeds, and insects. The bird is also known to feed on the leaves of the native ebony tree, which is an important food source for many of the island's endemic species.

The Pink Pigeon was once widespread throughout Mauritius, but its population declined dramatically in the 19th century due to habitat loss and hunting. The bird was also affected by the introduction of non-native species, such as rats and cats, which preyed on the bird's eggs and young.

By the mid-20th century, the Pink Pigeon was on the brink of extinction, with only a handful of individuals remaining in the wild. In response to this crisis, a conservation program was launched to save the species from extinction.

The conservation program for the Pink Pigeon has been highly successful, with the population of the bird increasing from a low of just 10 individuals in the 1970s to an estimated 400-500 individuals today. The success of the conservation program is due to a variety of factors, including habitat restoration, predator control, and captive breeding.

One of the key elements of the conservation program has been the restoration of the Pink Pigeon's habitat. The forests of Mauritius have been degraded over centuries by human activity, and many of the native species have been lost or severely reduced in numbers. To restore the Pink Pigeon's habitat, the conservation program has involved the planting of thousands of native trees and shrubs, which provide food and shelter for the bird.

Another important aspect of the conservation program has been the control of non-native species, such as rats and cats, which prey on the Pink Pigeon's eggs and young. The conservation program has involved the trapping and removal of these predators from the bird's habitat, as well as the installation of predator-proof nesting boxes.

Captive breeding has also played a crucial role in the conservation of the Pink Pigeon. The bird is bred in captivity at a breeding center on the island, and the young birds are then released into the wild. This has helped to increase the population of the bird and ensure its survival.

The conservation of the Pink Pigeon has been a remarkable success story, and the bird is now considered a flagship species for conservation in Mauritius. The success of the conservation program has also had positive impacts on other endemic species on the island, as the restoration of the Pink Pigeon's habitat has provided a home for many other species.

Visitors to Mauritius can see the Pink Pigeon in the wild by visiting the Black River Gorges National Park, which is one of the best places to see the bird. This park is also known for the hiking experience.

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