Mauritian Shelduck

Mauritian Shelduck

Mauritian Shelduck

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Description:
The Mauritian Shelduck (Alopochen mauritianus) is an extinct species of goose from Mauritius. It was a close relative of the Egyptian Goose. Known from one or two subfossil carpometacarpus bones and a few descriptions, this bird was about the size of a Brent Goose. Its appearance is unknown, except that its wings showed the typical color pattern of shelducks. It is sometimes considered conspecific with the Malagasy Shelduck; in this case it would become the nominate subspecies, as Alopochen mauritianus mauritianus.

Sometimes even in scholarly sources one can find references to a supposed "Mauritius Swan" or "Mauritius Comb Goose". These refer to the initial misidentification of the Alopochen mauritianus bones as belonging to the genus Sarkidiornis, but as early as 1897 the true nature of this bird was realized.

Extinction

Like its RĂ©union relative, the Mauritian Shelduck was rapidly hunted to extinction. Still reasonably plentiful in 1681, the population collapsed soon afterwards, and Leguat found "wild geese" to be "already rare" in 1693. In 1698, governor Deodati declared them to be extinct.<!--From "Mascarene Swan": The Mascarene Swan was last observed on RĂ©union by P. Dubois on 1670 and on Mauritius by J. Marshall on 1668. It was herbivorous and endemic to the Mascarene Islands. It disappeared after the introduction...
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