why did dodo birds go extinct

The dodo bird, a fascinating creature that once roamed the island of Mauritius, has captured the imagination of people for centuries. Known for its comical appearance and unique characteristics, the dodo bird’s extinction remains a subject of great interest and curiosity.

Today, I will unlock the reasons behind the extinction of the dodo bird and its broader implications for the world of conservation. Join us on a journey through time to uncover the secrets of why dodo birds went extinct.

Who is dodo?

Dodo is not a person; it is the name of an extinct flightless bird. The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a species of bird that lived on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. It became famous for its extinction, which occurred in the late 17th century. The dodo is often used as an example of human-induced extinction and is known for its unique appearance and inability to fly. It’s a symbol of the impact of human activities on the natural world and the importance of conservation.

reason for extinction of dodo birds

How Did Dodo Look like?

The dodo was a large, flightless bird that was approximately 3 feet (about 1 meter) tall and weighed around 20-40 pounds (9-18 kilograms). It had a distinctive appearance with several unique features:

Stout Body: The dodo had a plump and rounded body, which contributed to its inability to fly.

Large Beak: It had a large, hooked beak, which was somewhat like that of a pigeon, with a slight downward curve.

Small Wings: The wings of the dodo were small and not capable of flight. They were more like stubby flippers.

how did dodo look like

Thick Legs: Dodos had thick, sturdy legs adapted for walking and running rather than flying.

Greyish Plumage: The dodo’s plumage was predominantly grey, although there are some historical accounts that mention variations in color, such as white or brown feathers.

Feathered Tail: It had a tuft of feathers at the base of its tail.

The overall appearance of the dodo was rather peculiar, and it is often depicted in illustrations and reconstructions based on historical descriptions and the limited remains and drawings that have survived from its time.

Know the Reasons Behind Extinction of Dodo Bird

The extinction of the dodo bird, scientifically known as Raphus cucullatus, is a complex story intertwined with a series of unfortunate events. To understand why these remarkable birds went extinct, we must examine several key factors that contributed to their demise:

Habitat Loss

 When Dutch sailors arrived on the island of Mauritius in the late 16th century, they brought with them invasive species, such as rats, pigs, and monkeys. These animals destroyed the dodo bird’s natural habitat and competed for resources.

When European sailors and settlers arrived on Mauritius in the late 16th century, they brought with them domesticated animals like pigs, goats, and monkeys. These animals had no natural predators on the island and began to forage for food. In the process, they trampled on the native vegetation, which had serious consequences for the dodo birds.

Dodo birds relied on the plants of Mauritius for their food, particularly fruits and seeds. The destruction of their habitat meant that the plants they depended on were being damaged or consumed by the introduced animals. This disrupted the dodo birds’ food sources, making it harder for them to find enough to eat.


Dodo birds were initially not fearful of humans or other animals, as they had evolved without natural predators in Mauritius. This lack of fear made them easy targets for hunting.

Sailors and settlers, who were often in need of food during their long sea voyages, found dodo birds to be a convenient and readily available source of meat. The birds were hunted for their meat and their eggs, further reducing their population.

Lack of Fear

Dodo birds’ lack of fear of humans and other animals was an adaptation to their previous lack of predators on the island. Unfortunately, this lack of fear made them highly vulnerable to hunting and predation by the introduced species.

They did not have the instinctual fear response that many other animals develop when confronted with potential threats, making them ill-prepared to defend themselves.

Limited Geographic Range

The dodo birds’ limited geographic range was a significant factor in their extinction. They were confined to the isolated island of Mauritius, which meant that any negative changes in their environment or the introduction of new threats had a disproportionate impact on their population.

With no other populations of dodo birds elsewhere, they had no source for repopulation or genetic diversity, making them extremely vulnerable to environmental changes and human activities.

The dodo bird’s existence was restricted to the island of Mauritius, which made them particularly susceptible to extinction. Isolation prevented them from seeking refuge on other lands when their habitat was compromised.

Lack of Adaptability

Dodo birds had evolved in isolation and had no natural predators on their native island. This lack of exposure to threats left them ill-equipped to cope with the sudden arrival of foreign species.

Reproductive Challenges

They had a slow reproductive rate, which made it difficult for them to recover their population after facing significant threats. With limited breeding and extended incubation periods, their numbers dwindled rapidly.

Competition for Food

The introduced animals were in direct competition with dodo birds for limited food resources. With the introduction of these animals, there was increased competition for fruits, seeds, and other plant materials that both the dodos and introduced species relied upon.

As the introduced animals had more diverse diets and could eat a wider range of plants, they were better able to adapt to the changing environment and outcompeted the dodo birds for available food.


Rats, in particular, were a significant threat to dodo birds. These rodents preyed on dodo bird eggs and chicks. Since the dodo birds did not have natural predators on the island before human arrival, they had no defenses against these new threats.

With the dodo birds’ inability to fly or flee from danger, their eggs and young were easy targets for predation by the introduced rats and other animals.

The Lasting Impact

The extinction of the dodo bird serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of human actions on the natural world. While the dodo’s extinction was one of the earliest recorded instances, it set a precedent for future conservation efforts.

The loss of this unique species prompted a shift in public awareness and the beginning of conservation movements worldwide.

Is Dodo Bird a Mythical Creature?

No, the dodo bird was not a mythical creature. It was a real, living bird species that once existed. The dodo bird, scientifically known as Raphus cucullatus, was native to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.

The dodo bird is often mistakenly associated with mythology or folklore due to its unique and somewhat unusual appearance, as well as its tragic extinction. However, it was a genuine and documented species of flightless bird that lived during the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

While the dodo bird is no longer alive today, it is a well-documented part of natural history and serves as a symbol of extinction and the impact of human activities on vulnerable species.

Scientists have studied fossils, historical accounts, and other evidence to learn more about the dodo’s existence and its role in the ecosystem of Mauritius.

Could the Dodo Come Back from Extinction?

the possibility of bringing the dodo bird back from extinction, a process known as “de-extinction,” remains purely theoretical and highly challenging. De-extinction involves using genetic and breeding techniques to resurrect extinct species or closely related creatures.

Several factors complicate the idea of de-extincting the dodo bird:

Availability of Genetic Material

To attempt de-extinction, scientists would need well-preserved DNA from dodo bird remains. While some specimens have been found, DNA degradation over time could make obtaining viable genetic material extremely difficult.

Closest Living Relatives

Determining the closest living relatives of the dodo bird is essential for a de-extinction attempt. In the case of the dodo, it is believed to be closely related to pigeons and doves, which could potentially serve as genetic donors.

Complex Genetic Engineering

Even with preserved DNA and suitable relatives, reconstructing the entire genome of the dodo bird and successfully creating a living, viable organism would be an extraordinarily complex and challenging process.

Ecological and Ethical Considerations

Reintroducing a resurrected dodo bird into its original habitat or other ecosystems would raise numerous ethical and ecological questions. It’s unclear how the bird would interact with modern ecosystems and whether it would thrive or face new threats.

Resource Allocation

De-extinction efforts require substantial resources, including funding, expertise, and facilities, which could divert attention and resources away from conserving existing endangered species and protecting their habitats.

While the concept of de-extinction is intriguing, it remains speculative and fraught with scientific and ethical challenges. The focus in conservation efforts generally centers on preserving existing biodiversity, protecting endangered species, and conserving natural habitats to prevent further extinctions.


The dodo bird’s extinction is a compelling case study of how human activities can lead to the irreversible loss of unique species. It serves as a stark reminder of the importance of preserving biodiversity and the need for responsible environmental stewardship. While we can never bring back the dodo bird, its story lives on as a symbol of the delicate balance between humans and the natural world. As we continue to face environmental challenges, let us learn from the lessons of the dodo bird and strive to protect and conserve the incredible diversity of life on our planet.


What was the real reason the dodo went extinct?

The real reason for the dodo’s extinction was primarily habitat loss and hunting by humans.

 Who killed the last dodo bird extinct?

The exact individual responsible for killing the last dodo bird is unknown, but it was likely a European sailor or settler in the late 17th century.

Are they bringing back the dodo?

 No, the dodo cannot be brought back as it is an extinct species, and there are no living specimens to clone.

How many dodo birds are left?

There are no dodo birds left; they became extinct in the late 17th century.

What did dodo taste like?

There are historical accounts suggesting that dodo meat was tough and not very palatable, often described as having a taste similar to turkey or pigeon.

Has anyone seen a dodo?

No one has seen a live dodo since the late 17th century when the species went extinct.

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