Mauritius or Republic of Mauritius is an island in the Indian Ocean, part of the Mascarene Islands. It includes some other islands such as Rodrigues, Agagela and St. Brandon. The capital Port Louis is located on Mauritius which is the main island. The total land area is 2,040 km².

Mauritius is 2,000 kilometres off the SE coast of Africa. It is surrounded by white sandy beaches, and a very large coral reef around the island protects the lagoons from the open sea.
Numerous uninhabited islands and islets off the Mauritius coast are used as natural reserves for endangered species.

Mauritius is a “young” volcanic island encircled by a broken ring of mountain ranges, from 300 to 800 metres above sea-level. The island rises from the coastal plains to a central plateau of 670 metres of elevation. The highest peak is in the SW, the Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire, at 828 metres. Several streams and rivers are scattered throughout the island.

Rodrigues Island is located 583 kilometres to the E of Mauritius. This volcanic island is hilly, with the highest peak, Mountain Limon, at 398 metres.
Agagela Islands are located about 1,000 kilometres to the N of Mauritius. The land area of the twin islands is 26 km².
St. Brandon is located 402 kilometres NE of Mauritius. This archipelago consists of 16 islands and islets.  
Chagos Archipelago is located about 2,200 kilometres NE of Mauritius and is composed of atolls and islands.
Tromelin lies 430 kilometres NE of Mauritius. It is an Important Bird Area as a significant seabird breeding site.

Mauritius is home of some rare plants and animals, now threatened by introduction of non-native species with the arrival of man in 1507.
Before this arrival, the absence of terrestrial mammals on the island allowed the evolution of several flightless birds and large reptiles’ species. But the introduction of invasive species involved the rapid degradation and destruction of the habitat, and the disappearance of much of the endemic flora and fauna. Only less than 2% of the native forest now remains, and remnants of coastal and mainland diversity are only found on offshore islands.
Mauritius weather involves seasonal cyclones that destroy flora and fauna, but they are recovering quickly. The climate is typically tropical with a warm, humid summer (November to April) and a relatively cold, dry winter (June to September).

In the 1980s, conservation programs began with reproduction of threatened birds and plant species, as well restoration of the habitat in natural parks and reserves.

But Mauritius is also known for the Dodo. This bird was descendant of a type of pigeon (the closest relative is the Nicobar Pigeon) settled in Mauritius over four million years ago. The Dodo was flightless because predators were absent. Its weight was about 23 kg, a good source of fresh meat for the sailors.
With the arrival of humans around 1505, large numbers of Dodos were killed for food. The introduced rats, pigs and monkeys destroyed the eggs in the ground nests, involving significant reduction of Dodo’s population. Within a century, the Dodo became a rare bird and the last one was killed in 1681. The Dodo is displayed on the national coat of arms of Mauritius.

Text by Nicole Bouglouan

Text sources:


Countries and their Cultures

Encyclopaedia Britannica – Mauritius

History and Culture of Mauritius

Bagheera - THE DODO BIRD

Ce biologiste a sauvé 9 espèces de l’extinction dont 4 oiseaux


List of the 10 extant endemic bird species:

Sources: Avibase (Lepage Denis)


Echo (Mauritius) Parakeet - Psittacula eques - Perruche de Maurice

Mauritius Bulbul - Hypsipetes olivaceus - Bulbul de Maurice                               

Mauritius Cuckooshrike - Lalage typica - Echenilleur de Maurice

Mauritius Fody - Foudia rubra - Foudi de Maurice     

Mauritius Grey White-eye - Zosterops mauritianus - Zostérops gris

Mauritius Kestrel - Falco punctatus - Crécerelle de Maurice            

Mauritius Olive White-eye - Zosterops chloronothos - Zostérops de Maurice             

Pink Pigeon - Nesoenas mayeri - Pigeon rose          

Rodrigues Fody - Foudia flavicans - Foudi de Rodrigues

Rodrigues Warbler - Acrocephalus rodericanus - Rousserolle de Rodrigues


List of the 5 extinct endemic bird species:

Mauritius and Rodrigues extinct endemic bird species


Dodo - Raphus cucullatus - Dronte de Maurice

Mauritius Blue Pigeon - Alectroenas nitidissimus - Founingo hollandais

Newton’s Parakeet - Psittacula exsul - Perruche de Newton

Rodrigues Solitaire - Pezophaps solitaria - Dronte de Rodrigues

Rodrigues Starling - Necropsar rodericanus - Etourneau de Rodrigues                           

Mauritius Fody

Jean-Claude Jamoulle
A la rencontre des Oiseaux