Minaggio 76 – Although the bird is tentatively labelled Dodo? on the picture, this more likely represents a bustard being hunted by a mounted oriental gentleman with a scimitar. From Il Bestiario Barocco – Feather Book: Made in 1618 by Dionisio Minaggio, Chief Gardener of the State of Milan, the Feather Book consists of 157 collages of birds, hunters, tradesmen, musicians and Commedia del’Arte figures.
The 112 birds consist of the feathers, beaks and claws laid down in true-to-life fashion. The majority of the birds depicted were native to Lombardy although some are no longer common there. One of the birds is identified as being a representation of a Dodo – and indeed a web site on the dodo seems to accept this attribution without question. However, the bird is not particularly well drawn, uses Lombardy bird feathers rather than ones from an actual Dodo and is obviously copied from either a drawing or a description. I suspect it is done from an illustration because the costume and weapon of the Arabian hunter is so accurately depicted. Various other ornithologists who have seen the original have declared the bird to be either a Reunion Solitaire, which is at least a close relative of the Dodo, or a Great Bustard.