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Mauritian pidgeons


Mauritian pidgeons

Laerle, Joris Joostensz.

The Moluccan fleet of the Fifth Expedition sailed to the Indonesian archipelago in 1601. By August the expedition’s crew suffered heavily from scurvy, which made the leadership decide to sail to Mauritius. This island had first been visited by ships of the Second Expedition a few years prior and during that expedition the island had been found to be rich in fresh water and food supplies. The Fifth Expedition stayed at Mauritius from 27 September to 20 October and during this time the crew encountered and caught many of the island’s indigenous birds. A number of these were drawn in the journal of the Gelderland.

These drawings show very detailed, lifelike depiction of the now-extinct Mauritius blue pigeon. The pigeons are drawn with great attention to detail, including their facial shape and feather patterns. They are some of the most artistic drawings in the Gelderland journal.

Joris Joostensz. Laerle likely drew this depiction of the Mauritius blue pigeon (Alectroenas nitidissimus) in the journal of the flagship Gelderland.

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Sources and literature

Morree, Perry, Dodo's en galjoenen: De reis van het schip Gelderland naar Oost-Indië, 1601-1603