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Mauritian parrots


Mauritian parrots

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, probably by Joris Joostensz. Laerle.

These drawings show a carefully drawn depiction of the now-extinct broad-billed parrot, which was indigenous to Mauritius. Like other indigenous birds of Mauritius like the dodo, red rail and Mauritian blue pigeon the parrot likely became extinct as a consequence of the Dutch and French colonisation of the island in the seventeenth century. The Dutch referred to it as an Indian raven.

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Sources and literature

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