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Tooth-Billed Pigeon

Didunculus strigirostris

Didunculus strigirostris, the tooth-billed pigeon, has no close relatives today, and is the only extant species in the genus. An extinct species of the same genus is known only from fossils. Genetically, it is a close relative of the extinct dodo, hence the name of the genus, which means “little dodo”. The species was discovered in 1839 on a US mission to the Pacific islands of Samoa where it is endemic. It once lived throughout the islands of Upolu, Savaiʻi and Nuʻulua, but today is confined to their remote rainforests. According to the IUCN, it is classified as Critically Endangered (CR), as its total population is estimated to be 50–249 individuals, which live exclusively in the wild. The rapid decline of the population is due to several pressures, such as hunting, introduced predators (cats and rats), the degradation and destruction of its habitat, caused by both human and natural factors, such as cyclones. Little is known about the ecology and biology of this species.

The Museum collection contains a specimen obtained in July 1878 from the Godeffroy Museum in Hamburg, which existed between 1861 and 1885.





Foto: Chr. Karantzolas