A research team from the natural history museum Naturalis in Leiden has discovered bones of the Pigeon Hollandais (Alectroenas nitidissima) on the island of Mauritius. The bones are the oldest ever found of the species.
The bird got the name Pigeon Hollandais from its coloration of white, blue and red, which reminded early observers of the Dutch flag. The species is also known as the Mauritius Blue Pigeon.
The species was heavily hunted in the 17th and 18th centuries. As the habitat of the bird was decimated by deforestation, sightings of the bird were already rare as early as 1730. The bird probably finally became extinct sometime around the 1803’s.
The research team from Naturalis is in Mauritius searching for information on the Dodo Bird. A weblog of their expedition, with some entries in English, can be found here.