Dodo, a large flightless bird that once lived on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean but is now extinct. The dodo was related to the pigeon, but was the size of a large turkey. Its body feathers were gray; breast and tail feathers were white. A bulbous hooked beak, short, stubby legs, and curly tail feathers gave the dodo a comical appearance. The dodo was a clumsy, slow-moving bird but it flourished on Mauritius because it had no natural enemies.Dodos were flightless birds the size of large turkeys.
In 1598 a Dutch trading vessel landed on Mauritius and its sailors found that the birds were good to eat and easy to catch. With the introduction of hogs, cats, rats, and monkeys by colonists, who arrived in 1638, the dodo population was exterminated. The last living dodo was seen in 1681.
Solitaires, birds related to the dodo, lived on the nearby islands of Runion and Rodriguez. By 1800 they, too, had become extinct.
The dodo and the solitaires belonged to the family Raphidae. The dodo was Raphus cucullatus; the Runion Island solitaire, R. solitarius; the Rodriguez Island solitaire, Pezophaps solitaria.