‘Closest living relative to dodo’ hatches at Edinburgh Zoo

The Nicobar pigeon is the closest living relative of the Dodo. Picture: PA
The Nicobar pigeon is the closest living relative of the Dodo. Picture: PA
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A NICOBAR pigeon chick - a species of bird thought to be the closest living relative to the dodo - has hatched at Edinburgh Zoo.

RZSS Edinburgh Zoo keepers are delighted to announce the recent arrival of an endangered Nicobar pigeon chick.

Picture: PA

Picture: PA

Delighted zoo keepers announced the news earlier today, a month after the chick hatched.

The Nicobar pigeon is the closest living relative to the dodo and has extremely striking and colourful feathers. The large, mainly ground-dwelling birds feature brightly coloured feathers making it one of the more beautiful species among the pigeons and dove.

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Sean Meechan, Senior Animal Keeper at Edinburgh Zoo said: “We are really pleased to see that the chick is doing well. Both parents have been keeping a watchful eye and will continue tending to it until it fledges at around one month old. We have a while to wait before the chick starts to show off its adult colouration, when it will begin to develop the white tail and dark green iridescent feathers that the species is famous for.”

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Nicobar pigeons are classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List with the species declining in numbers. This is due to the many threats faced by Nicobar pigeon including hunting and trapping for food.

Despite having a wide distribution, from the Indian Nicobar Islands to Papua New Guinea, the Nicobar pigeon is generally scarce throughout its range. The species is most abundant on the smaller, less disturbed islands which are increasingly being cleared for plantations, severely reducing preferred breeding and foraging habitats for the unique species.

Edinburgh Zoo’s Nicobar pigeon can be visited at the Brilliant Birds walkthrough aviary.

The dodo, a bird native to the island of Mauritius, east of Madagascar, was hunted to extinction in the 17th century. The last widely recorded sighting of the bird occurred in 1662.

In the years since, the dodo has become a globally-recognised icon symbolising extinction and species under grave threat.