Instagram | @david_hrb

Gorgeous Nicobar Pigeons Are Thought To Be The Closest Living Relative To The Dodo

For most North Americans, the image of a pigeon is one of a nuisance. They flock in big cities, where their mostly grey appearance fits with the urban landscape as they steal your lunch and poop all over park benches.

In the time I've been Diply's cute birb correspondent, I've learned something: pigeons can be beautiful too. Just not so much in North America.

May I present to you, the gorgeous Nicobar pigeon.

Instagram | @hasanuddinahamid

These amazing birds are found in the Nicobar Islands that give them their name, as well as parts of other southeast Asian countries.

Their most obvious feature is their bright, iridescent colors, which evolved due to a lack of native predators.

They are the only member of the genus *Caloenas* still living, which makes them the closest living relative to the famous dodo.

Instagram | @pawkachu

Sadly, their years of evolutionary safety have ended and the Nicobar pigeon is now listed as near threatened on the endangered species list.

This is due to a combination of habitat loss to humans and new predator species.

Instagram | @pink_claud

Invasive cats and rats have be introduced to their habitat and the illegal pet trade loves the pigeons' unique beauty.

They are also regularly hunted as food and for the prize of their feathers and gizzard stones.

Thankfully, conservationists are already working to protect these beautiful birds and hopefully, that "near threatened" never becomes more serious.

h/t: WWF India

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