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Books about the Solitaire

The books are listed in order of publication date with the most recent at the top.

For books about extinct birds see the;

Extinct Birds page


The Dodo and its Kindred

Or The History, Affinities, and Osteology of the Dodo, Solitaire, and Other Extinct Birds of the Islands Mauritius, Rodriguez, and Bourbon

Hugh Edwin Strickland

Cambridge Library Collection

Cambridge University Press


"Well versed in natural history, particularly geology and ornithology, Hugh Edwin Strickland (1811–53) became fascinated by the dodo and mankind's influence on its extinction. Seeking to investigate this flightless bird and other extinct species from islands in the Indian Ocean, he invited the comparative anatomist Alexander Gordon Melville (1819–1901) to help him separate myth from reality. Divided into two sections, this 1848 monograph begins with Strickland's evaluation of the evidence, including historical reports as well as paintings and sketches, many of which are reproduced. Melville then analyses the osteology of the dodo and Rodrigues solitaire, describing his findings from dissections of the few available specimens and making comparisons with similar species. A seminal work, it correctly concluded that the dodo was more closely related to pigeons than vultures, and the book also inspired others to take up the search for new fossil evidence."

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The Dodo and the Solitaire: A Natural History

Jolyon C. Parish

Indiana University Press


"The Dodo and the Solitaire is the most comprehensive book to date about these two famously extinct birds. It contains all the known contemporary accounts and illustrations of the dodo and solitaire, covering their history after extinction and discussing their ecology, classification, phylogenetic placement, and evolution. Both birds were large and flightless and lived on inhabited islands some 500 miles east of Madagascar. The first recorded descriptions of the dodo were provided by Dutch sailors who first encountered them in 1598 - within 100 years, the dodo was extinct. So quickly did the bird disappear that there is insufficient evidence to form an entirely accurate picture of its appearance and ecology, and the absence has led to much speculation. The story of the dodo, like that of the solitaire, has been pieced together from fragments, both literary and physical, that have been carefully compiled and examined in this extraordinary volume."

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Solitaire: The Dodo of Rodrigues Island

Alan Grihault


"The story of the Solitaire begins against the backdrop of an idyllic, densely forested and uninhabited island. Many thousands of years later, man's arrival on the island and its ensuing negative impact contributed, within just 100 years, to the Solitaire's extinction. This unique and beautifully illustrated book allows the reader to go back in time to see hoe the Solitaire lived and died, to trace what happened following its extinction, and to discover how the resulting scientific evidence has enabled a greater understanding of this fascinating bird."

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The Lost Land of the Dodo

Anthony Checke



"The Mascarene islands, Mauritius, Reunion and Rodrigues, were once home to an extraordinary range of birds and reptiles. Evolving in the absence of mammalian predators or competitors, amazing forms such as giant tortoises, burrowing boas, flightless owls and herons, giant parrots, and, of course, the Dodo, dominated the land. Colonisation by European settlers led to dramatic changes in the ecology of the islands; the birds and tortoises were slaughtered indiscriminately while introduced pigs and monkeys destroyed their eggs, and the once-extensive forests were logged. A now-familiar emblem of extinction, the Dodo was gone within 60 years of the colonisation of its home, Mauritius, and over the next 150 years most of the Mascarene's other native vertebrates followed suit. The product of a lifetime of research by Anthony Cheke, "Lost Land of the Dodo" provides a comprehensive yet hugely enjoyable account of the story of the islands' ecology. The book is richly illustrated with maps and contemporary illustrations of the animals and plants, many of which have not been reproduced for hundreds of years….while Julian Hume's superb colour plates bring many of the extinct birds to life."

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The Dodo And Its Kindred

Or, The History, Affinities, And Osteology Of The Dodo, Solitaire, And Other Extinct Birds Of The Islands Mauritius, Rodriguez And Bourbon

H.R. Strickland and A.G. Melville

Plates: Vincent Brooks and others

Reeve, Benham And Reeve


From the introduction:

"Among the many remarkable results connected with Organic Life which modern Science has elicited, the chronological succession of distinct races of beings is one of the most interesting. Geology exhibits to us the vast diversity of organized forms which have supplanted one another throughout the world's history, and in dealing with this remarkable fact, we are led to search out the causes for these exits and entrances of successive actors on the stage of Nature. It appears, indeed, highly probable that Death is a law of Nature in the Species as well as in the Individual; but this internal tendency to extinction is in both cases unable to be anticipated by violent or accidental causes. Numerous external agents have affected the distribution of organic life at various periods, and one of these has operated exclusively during the existing epoch, viz. the agency of Man, an influence peculiar in its effects, and which is made known to us by testimony as well as by inference. The object of the present treatise is to exhibit some remarkable examples of the extinction of several ornithic species, constituting an entire sub-family, through Human agency, and under circumstances of peculiar interest."
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Last updated August 2013