Alopochen mauritianus   (Newton & Gadow)


 
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Mauritian Shelduck
(Alopochen mauritianus)

 
syn. Sarcidiornis mauritianus (Newton & Gadow)

 
distribution:

Mauritius: Mauritius

 
local name: -

 
size: (?)

extinction date: sometimes after 1698

 
The genus Alopochen comprises currently only a single species, the Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus (L.)) from the tropical Africa.

Three additional species of the genus are now extinct, namely the Mauritian Shelduck (Alopochen mauritianus (Newton & Gadow)) as well as the Reunion Shelduck (Alopochen kervazoi (Cowles)) from the island of Réunion, and the Sirabe Shelduck (Alopochen sirabensis (Andrews)) from Madagascar.

These three species were all described on the basis of subfossil bones.

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The Mauritian Shelduck formerly inhabited the island Mauritius, as the name implies, and must have survived here until around 1698, because the last accounts which mention this bird date from that year.

It was probably flightless and was therefore a very easy prey for all the introduced predators (dogs, cats, pigs, rats, monkeys). But also humans were busy in hunting for all things they thought to be usable. On the islands of the Mascarene group (Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues) many unique bird species were extirpated in the shortest time in that way.

 
left:

Mauritian Shelduck (Alopochen mauritianus)


Depiction from: 'Edward Newton; Hans Gadow: On additional Bones of the Dodo and other Extinct Birds of Mauritius obtained by Mr. Théodore Sauzier. Transactions of the Zoological Society of London 13: 281-302. 1895'

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

 
References:

- Anthony Cheke; Julian Hume: Lost Land of the Dodo. Yale University Press, 2008