Didunculus – Tooth-billed pigeons

One of the closest relatives of the famous Dodo bird, which sadly went extinct hundreds of years ago

The Tooth-billed pigeon, also known as the Manumea, is a special bird found only in Samoa. It’s a big pigeon, about the size of a ruler, with a round body and short legs. Unlike most pigeons you might see in a park, this one prefers to spend its time up high in the trees of Samoa’s rainforests.

One of the things that makes the Tooth-billed pigeon so unique is its beak. It’s bright red, curved, and hooked, and unlike other birds’ beaks, it has a bumpy surprise on the bottom part. These bumps look a bit like teeth, which is how the pigeon got its name. This special beak helps the Tooth-billed pigeon eat its favorite food – really tough fruits that most other birds wouldn’t be able to crack open.

The Tooth-billed pigeon is a shy bird, and not many people ever get to see one. They are usually quiet too, but if you’re lucky enough to spot one in the rainforest, you might hear a long, rising and falling “ooo” call coming from the high branches.

Another interesting thing about the Tooth-billed pigeon is that it’s a bit like a living time capsule. It’s one of the closest relatives of the famous Dodo bird, which lived on Mauritius Island but sadly went extinct hundreds of years ago. So, by studying the Tooth-billed pigeon, we can learn more about what the Dodo might have been like.