Mauritius Fody

Scientific Name
Foudia rubra
Family
Genus
Conservation Status
Endangered (EN)

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Wikipedia Article

The Mauritius Fody (Foudia rubra) is a rare species of bird in the weaver family. It is endemic to the island of Mauritius. It is classified by BirdLife International as being endangered. It is also on the United States' Endangered Species List with an endangered status. This bird is 14 centimeters long. It is brown with a red head and breast and black lores. The bird lives in several types of forest, including degraded areas, as well as plantations. Stands of Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) have replaced native vegetation and now provide shelter.It eats insects, fruit, and nectar. The bird is a weaver, the male and female cooperating to weave each nest. The Mauritius Fody is threatened by the loss of its habitat. Beginning in the 1970's much of it's habitat was lost when the land was cleared for plantations. By 2001 there were perhaps no more than about 100 breeding pairs. The bird rarely breeds successfully because its nests are raided by predators, especially the black rat (Rattus rattus) and the crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis). This is currently the main cause of the bird's decline. Some areas of intact habitat have high nest predation, but areas of low nest predation may be poor habitat. The Common Mynah has also been observed predating nests. Nest failure may occur when it is infested with tropical nest fly. The larvae of the fly attack the chicks, latching on and feeding on their blood, causing dehydration and anemia in the chicks. Conservation efforts include the control of rats and macaques. A captive breeding program has produced many chicks. Eggs are removed from nests in the wild and hatched in captivity as the wild pairs produce and rear another clutch simultaneously. Nests are treated for tropical nest fly. Supplemental food and water are given. The population has increased recently due to conservation programs. Île aux Aigrettes, an islet off the main island of Mauritius, is now home to a number of Mauritius Fodies and other threatened species that have been translocated there.