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Dodos and Solitaires: Raphidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Dodos were unable to fly, but could run quickly. They were not afraid of humans. When caught, however, a dodo screamed, causing other dodos to rush to its aid. These dodos were then caught as well. Rodrigues solitaires were territorial, pairs defended territories from other individuals of the species. Rodrigues solitaires had a courtship ritual that involved making noises with the wings. Their wing spurs were used in aggressive encounters between individual birds.

Little is known of the reproductive biology of dodos. It is likely that species built their nests on the ground, and that females laid only one egg at a time. The young were very likely altricial, hatched at an early developmental stage, blind and with few or no feathers. In the Rodrigues solitaire, nests were built from palm leaves. They were generally built on the ground. Both male and female helped incubate, or sit on, the eggs. Chicks were cared for by their parents for some time, then joined crèches, large groups of chicks.


Dodos and solitaires were close relatives of the pigeons and doves. Unlike existing pigeons and doves, however, they were unable to fly. They were also much larger in size. These features of flightlessness and gigantism (jie-GAN-tiz-um) likely evolved because their island habitats included no predators. In fact, flightlessness and gigantism have evolved in many other island birds. Unfortunately for dodos and solitaires, flightlessness was an extreme disadvantage when humans and other predators reached the Mascarene Islands.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsDodos and Solitaires: Raphidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Dodos, Solitaires, And People, Dodo (raphus Cucullatus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, CONSERVATION STATUS