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Museum specimen
Museum specimen

The hoopoe starling (Fregilupus varius) is a bird species that lived on the Mascarene island of Réunion and became extinct in the 1850s. Its closest relatives were the also-extinct Rodrigues starling and Mauritius starling from nearby islands. It was first mentioned during the 17th century and long thought to be related to the hoopoe, but it was confirmed as a starling in a DNA study. It was 30 cm (12 in) long with primarily white and grey plumage, with darker brown and grey on its back, wings and tail and a light crest that curled forwards. Males are thought to have been larger and had more curved beaks, and juveniles were more brown than the adults. The starling was omnivorous and foraged near the ground, as indicated by its robust feet, claws and jaws. The flocks inhabited humid areas and marshes. The birds may have gone extinct due to disease, deforestation, and competition with introduced species, as well as being hunted by humans. Nineteen specimens exist in museums. (Full article...)

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