Réunion sacred ibis
First descriptions of the Reunion sacred ibis were given 300 years ago. Travelers to Réunion observed a greater, rather stout white bird whose wing tips and ostrich-like feathers on its rear are black. Its neck and legs are long, but the beak shorter than in other ibis species. The bird lived solitary in the higher mountains of Réunion. But probably this was already the bird’s retreat to escape the overhunting by men and competition by imported cats and pigs.
Later the existence of the Réunion sacred ibis, which had difficulties to fly and which fattened seasonally, was confused with the dodo and became famous as the White dodo. Only in 1974, when subfossil bones of an ibis were found, it became obvious the so-called White dodo was in reality the Réunion sacred ibis.
Body length: 65 cm
Body weight: almost the same weight as a male turkey.
Habitat: Remote areas in the higher mountains of Réunion.
Food: Worms and smaller soil invertebrates which were foraged from the soil with the long, rather strong beak.
Extinction: By overhunting by men and predation by cats and pigs the Réunion sacred ibis became extinct around 1710-15.