The pink pigeon is a rare bird of the pigeon family. The specific Latin name is given in honor of the German physiologist August Mayer.
The only modern endemic species of pigeons of the island of Mauritius. Previously, the Mascarene Islands - Mauritius, Reunion and Rodrigues - were home to 12 endemic species of pigeons, including the dodo Raphus cucullatus. All of them, with the exception of the pink pigeon, became extinct four centuries after the arrival of people on the islands - due to hunting, deforestation and the predation of imported mammals.
The pink pigeon reaches a length of 36 to 38 cm and weighs 320 to 350 g. Its neck is of medium length, the head is small and round. Wings from dark gray to dark brown, primary flight feathers are somewhat darker. The fan-shaped tail is red-brown. The rest of the plumage is pale pink. Strong and slightly thickened beak at the end has a light red base and apex from white to pale pink. Light red feet have one short and three long toes with strong claws. The periobital ring is red, the irises are dark yellow in color.
The pink pigeon feeds on leaves, fruits, flowers, seeds and buds of both native and imported plants. Females give a short, nasal "hoo-hoo", males coo loudly "cooo". Both birds build a nest of branches in the crown of a tree. The female usually lays two eggs.
3. Security and threats
The main threats are the uprooting of forests and introduced species of animals such as the black rat, common mongoose, cat and Javanese macaque. Severe storms can reduce the pink pigeon population. So, in 1960, in 1975 and 1979, about half of all pink pigeons died due to cyclones. The local population of the island does not pose any threat, as they are convinced that the pink pigeon sometimes eats the fruits of the poisonous fangama tree.
As early as 1830, the population was assessed as critically ill. In 1991, the number of birds dropped to 10 individuals. In 1970, pink pigeons were first kept in captivity in Mauritius and at the Jersey Island Zoo. Other breeding groups in zoos were created, among which the Walsrode bird park is worth noting.