Mauritius Fody are found only on the small isolated island Republic of Mauritius located 2,000 kilometers off the southeast coast of Africa.
Loss of habitat and invasive predators have severely reduced the Mauritius Fodies population. Nests are raided by Black Rats and Cynomolgus Monkeys, both introduced species. By 2001, fewer than 100 of these gorgeous birds survived.
An intense effort to save this stunning species was begun in 2003. Eggs were removed from nests and raised in captivity. The mature birds were released on a small, remote, uninhabited island free of predators. Quality food was provided for the new colony and by the end of the first season the birds were breeding. Their numbers have increased but the population is still very small, and the Mauritius Fody remains an endangered species.
Mauritius Fody weave beautiful basket-like nests, and forage on insects and berries. Interestingly, they feed regularly on nectar using their specialized brush-tipped tongue.
The artist spent three hours per square inch creating this acrylic painting while wearing magnifying goggles. A magnifying glass is required to appreciate the minute details.