Rodrigues Solitaire Pezophaps solitaria was endemic to
Rodrigues, Mauritius, from where it is known from numerous
historical accounts, with those of Leguat in 1708 providing
particularly rich detail, and many bones. Birds were heavily
hunted and predated by introduced cats, and were very rare
by 1755 when Cossigny tried to obtain one without success,
but was told that the species did still survive. It was
definitely extinct by the 1760s.
The Rodriguez Solitaire is known from a large number of
bones found on the island of Rodriguez in the Indian Ocean.
No mounted specimens of the Rodriguez Solitaire exist.
Most of our knowledge of its appearance and behaviour is
derived from the account of the French Huguenot François
Leguet, who was marooned on the island between 1691 and
Amongst other peculiarities, Leguat described the birds'
odd nesting behaviour. For example, a pair would not allow
any other Rodriguez Solitaire near the nest. If intruders
did appear, males would drive off rival males, while females
dealt with females. Whenever a male was confronted with
a female intruder it called its partner to chase the stranger
The Huguenots also praised the birds for their flavour.
The young, who were caught in the summer, were considered
a particular delicacy. They were easy to catch, due to their
inability to fly.
Leguat's account was written around 1690. From an anonymous
author we know the Rodriguez Solitaire was still quite common
in 1730. The birds were heavily hunted by humans and predated
by introduced cats. The Rodriguez Solitaire was very rare
by 1755, when Cossigny tried to obtain one without success,
but was told that the species did still survive. When a
French research vessel visited the island in 1761, it also
did not find any Rodrigues Solitaires, even though inhabitants
claimed that some were still here. If the species still
survived in 1761, it probably became extinct shortly after.
The closest relatives of the Rodriguez Solitaire are the
Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) and the
Solitaire (Raphus solitarius).