The last confirmed siting of a living dodo bird was in 1662. The large, flightless bird was hunted to extinction after Dutch sailors realized the bird was delicious and easy to catch, as they had no apparent fear of humans.
But while the dodo is gone, their closest animal relative lives on: the Nicobar pigeon.
The Nicobar pigeon, named after the Nicobar Islands, one of the most isolated island chains on Earth, is a truly incredible sight to see. It has incredible iridescent feathers that sometimes give it the appearance of having rainbow feathers.
“Island taxa such as the dodo and solitaire often represent extreme examples of evolution,” Oxford zoologist Alan Cooper told National Geographic in an interview. “By examining island birds we can investigate how evolution works — because extreme examples are often the best views of how something works.”
Although its relative the dodo found itself fast tracked to extinction, the Nicobar pigeon is in good shape. However, the pigeon is finding itself in hot water due to hunting as well as the introduction of non-native pest species. They are considered near-threatened.
Action is needed to make sure this pigeon doesn’t go the way of the dodo bird.