Before the arrival of people on the island of Mauritius, the dodo was largely predator-free. The isolation of its island habitat served as its primary protection against human predation. However, the dodo was notorious for its biting, which makes this species particularly vulnerable to human attack. The isolation also made Mauritius an extreme place to live, as it was prone to frequent cyclones and volcanic activity.
Didunculus strigirostris is an endemic tooth-billed pigeon that breeds on the islands of Samoa and Savaii. It is evolutionarily distinct from other pigeons, and its unique bill allows it to feed on fruit from the Dysoxylum genus. It breeds from April to September, and nests in Ficus trees at a height of 25 meters.
Although there is no living relative, the dodlets have some genetic similarities to the dodo. Their name was first given to them by Sir Richard Owen, and it means “little dodo”. Although the species is closely related to the Pacific Imperial Pigeon, the coo calls of didunculus and ducula are different. A spectrographic analysis of the two species’ songs shows significant differences in frequency traits.
The Tooth-billed Pigeon is a critically endangered species of pigeon. The species’ native habitat is the primary forests of Samoa. It is threatened by agriculture, and is now illegal to hunt. It is a highly secretive species, and its last sighting occurred several years ago in Savai’i. The Tooth-billed Pigeon is also the national bird of Samoa. Its appearance on the country’s currency has been a major cause for concern over the past several decades.