Asked by: Pippa Neilson, St Albans
The dodo’s closest relative was the Rodrigues solitaire, a large bird that lived on the island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean. But that’s also extinct. Those two formed their own group, which was equally related to all pigeons. So there isn’t a single living species the dodo was closest to. Their group branched off from the pigeon family before the pigeon family radiated.
Some records list the Nicobar pigeon (pictured) as the closest living relative of the dodo. This is based on genetic comparison, which is more reliable than inferring relationships from physical characteristics.
You can find the Nicobar pigeon, an island specialist, in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific.