Justification of Red List Category
This species was found in Mauritius, but is now Extinct as a result of hunting by settlers and nest predation by introduced pigs. Birds thought to represent the last individuals were killed on the offshore islet Ile d'Ambre in 1662.
No extant population remains.
Raphus cucullatus is known from numerous bones, specimen fragments, reports and paintings from Mauritius (Strickland and Melville 1848). It was last reported from an offshore islet by Iversen in 1662 (Cheke 1987), and although there was a report by an escaped slave in 1674 and statistical techniques indicate that it is likely to have persisted until 1690 (Roberts and Solow 2004), it is generally considered that all references to dodos thereafter refer to Red Rail Aphanapteryx bonasia (Cheke 2006).
It was mainly a species of the dry lowland forests (Owadally 1979), although possible mutualism with the upland tambalacoque tree Calvaria major (Temple 1977) suggests that it may have ranged into the hills (Hachisuka 1953). Evidence suggests it was predominantly herbivorous (Rijsdijk et al. 2009). The species was flightless (Livezey 1993) and tame (Hachisuka 1953).
Due to its tameness and large size it was very heavily hunted for food by sailors (Hachisuka 1953).
Text account compilers
Brooks, T., Khwaja, N. & Mahood, S.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Raphus cucullatus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/07/2020.