Illustrator Millie Marotta on capturing the endangered little dodo bird

Millie Marotta's new book contains a menagerie of bright, cold and colourful creatures – but they are all endangered. Here she explains her fascination for the little-known relative of the dodo

“I wasn’t long into my research for the book when I came across the little dodo bird. The more I read the more curious I became and decided quite quickly that it would be included as one of my chosen species for the book. Despite being the closest living relative of the long-extinct Dodo bird (though unlike its famous cousin, it can fly), I had never heard of this secretive little bird and was lured by the intrigue of a creature we know so little about, so much of their habits and behaviour remains a mystery. We don’t know if they nest on the ground or in trees – not one nest has ever been recorded, we don’t even know for certain what they eat or how long they live.

sketch millie

“Another remarkable thing that attracted me is that this little bird is not closely related to any other living species on earth, it’s truly unique. That in itself, was reason enough to want to tell the story of the little dodo bird and champion this enchanting species, itself now perilously close to extinction.”

See more of Millie Marotta’s illustrations in A Wild Child’s Guide to Endangered Animals out now