Mauritian Duck

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The Mauritian Duck (Anas theodori), also known as Sauzier's Teal, is an extinct dabbling duck that formerly occurred on the islands of Mauritius and Réunion. It was a small teal of the Anas gibberifrons superspecies of the Anas subgenus Nettion. Its closest relative is probably Bernier's Teal from Madagascar and, apart from having stronger wings and being considerably bigger (between a Sunda Teal and a Mallard in size), it seems to have looked very similar to that species. Earlier, it was proposed that Meller's Duck, also from Madagascar, is the closest living relative of A. theodori, but as more remains of the latter were unearthed this appears far less likely. Apart from a few, brief descriptions, not much is known about the bird in life, but its habits probably did not differ significantly from those of its close relatives. Bones have been found on Mauritius and more recently on Réunion also. The scientific name honours Thé́odore Sauzier, who made many bones of extinct birds found on Mauritius available to science.


The bird became extinct on both islands almost simultaneously and for the same reason: overhunting. On Mauritus, the "grey teals" were found in "great numbers" in 1681, but in 1693, Leguat (1708) found "wild ducks" to be already rare. In 1696, governor Deodati mentioned the species for the last time to be extant. On Réunion, the species is last mentioned to occur "in quantity" in de la Merveille's 1709...
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