Pink Pigeon (Columba mayeri)
Known from less than 20 individuals in the wild in 1975, today the Pink Pigeon has a population of more than 400 individuals. Thanks to an intensive species recovery programme of captive breeding and release in the wild. It is the largest surviving native bird, and has been reintroduced into the upland areas of native forest of the Black River Gorges National Park and Ile aux Aigrettes. This bird feeds on different types of shoots, fruits, flowers and seeds.
Mauritius Kestrel (Falco punctatus)
The Mauritius Kestrel was once considered the rarest bird in the world with only four individuals in the wild during the 1970’s. In order to restore the population of this endemic bird, eggs were collected from the wild, incubated at the Gerard Durrell Wildlife Bird Sanctuary, and chicks were hand reared and released in the native forest, and additional nesting sites, safe from monkeys were built. It is estimated that the population now numbers about 700 individuals in the wild, divided between the forests of the south west, and those in the south east. This small bird of prey feeds mainly on lizards and young birds which it hunts beneath the forest canopy.
Echo Parakeet or Mauritius Parakeet (Psittacula eques)
The Mauritius Parakeet is the only endemic species of parrot left in the Mascarenes. In 1987, less than 10 individuals were known in the wild. An intensive project by the National Parks & Conservation Service and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation has helped to increase the number of individuals of this beautiful parakeet. The breeding period for this bird specie is from August to September. The male echo parakeet has a bright red beak, whereas the female’s beak is black. The wild population in 2005 was around 300 birds.
Mauritius Fody (Foudia rubra)
The Mauritius Fody is another species that is benefiting from a species recovery programme which had started in 2004. This bird species dwells in the upland forest, and suffered catastrophically from destruction of its habitat in the 1970’s. It also loses many of its eggs and young to monkeys and rats. Chicks harvested in the wild in 2003 and 2004 have been released on Ile aux Aigrettes where the population has been established. The breeding season for this bird specie is from August to March.
Estimated No. of individuals in 1975: 500
Estimated No. of individuals in 2000: 410-500
Mauritius Cuckoo-Shrike (Coracina typical)
This insectivorous bird dwells in the remaining areas of native forests in Mauritius. The male birds are grey black while the females are reddish brown in colour.
Estimated No. of individuals in 1975: 420-440
Estimated No. of individuals in 2000: 600-700
Mauritius Black Bulbul
Mauritius Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes olivaceus)
This frugivorous endemic bulbul has a black body and bright yellow beak and can sometimes be seen in the upland forests.
Estimated No. of individuals in 1975: 400
Estimated No. of individuals in 2000: 450-680
Mauritius Paradise Flycatcher
Mauritius Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone bourbonniensis desolata)
The male flycatcher has a metallic blue head while the female’s head is dove-grey. This bird species feeds upon insects like flies, grasshoppers and beetles.
Estimated No. of individuals in 1975: 250
Estimated No. of individuals in 2000: 250
Mauritius Grey White-Eye
Mauritius Grey White-Eye (Zosterops borbonicus mauritianus)
Of the 9 endemic birds of Mauritius, the Mauritius Grey White-Eye is the commonest and widespread throughout the island. This bird species feeds on insects and nectars.
Estimated No. of individuals in 1975: 68,000-136,000
Estimated No. of individuals in 2000: 68,000-136,000
Mauritius Olive White-Eye
Mauritius Olive White-Eye (Zosterops chloronothos)
The Mauritius Olive White-Eye is found mainly in the indigenous evergreen forest and scrub. This bird species feeds on nectars and insects. This species is very secretive and is the next target for captive breeding.
Estimated No. of individuals in 1975: 700