Autophagy is crucial during tissue development, as the developing cell has to constantly adapt to cell-intrinsic and environmental changes. For instance, protein aggregates need to be cleared, superfluous organelles removed and cell shape adapted to the new function of the cell. One typical example of such a developmental adaptation is that of the red blood cell (RBC). In order to reach the smallest capillaries, the RBC has to reduce its size considerably and the nucleus is expelled from the developing RBC. However, it is still unclear how unwanted proteins, RNA and organelles are cleared during erythroid development. Using an autophagy-deficient murine model we show that mitophagy plays a nonredundant role in the developmental clearance of mitochondria in the erythroid lineage.