Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KŌKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

Kereru / New Zealand Pigeon

Scientific name:

 Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae novaeseelandiae

Common Name:

 New Zealand pigeon, kererū



Conservation status:

 Endemic. Not threatened

Mainland status:

 Widespread and locally common

Size:  51cm, 650g


 10 years possibly


 September - February


 Herbivorous - mainly fruit

The kererū is the largest pigeon in New Zealand and the fifth largest in the world. The head, throat, upper breast and upperparts are a metallic green with a purplish sheen. The upper breast is shaped like a baby's bib and clearly stands out against the pristine white of the lower breast and underparts. The bill is crimson with an orange tip and both the eye and feet are crimson. The call is a soft penetrating 'kuu'.

Kererū are herbivorous, and although they will eat foliage and flowers, they love to eat fruit. The favoured fruits are miro, pigeonwood, pūriri, taraire, and tawa, but coprosma, elder, hangehange, kahikatea, karaka, nīkau, and tītoki are also eaten. Their love of fruit is a clue to their ancestry. Although they are often referred to a 'wood pigeons', this is a misnomer which originates in their superficial resemblance, in size and shape, to European woodpigeons. In fact they are more closely related to the fruit doves of Australia. They perform an important ecological function in native forests, because they are the only birds that can swallow whole the large seeds of trees such as taraire and karaka.

Breeding takes place between September and February and is timed to coincide with certain fruits being available. The nest is a flimsy affair, often a precariously balanced platform of sticks on a horizontal fork. Often the egg or chick can be seen from the ground through the nest. Both adults incubate for about 30 days and the young kererū fledge at between 30 and 45 days old.

There was no need to introduce kererū to Tiritiri Matangi because they fly easily and frequently between the Island and the mainland. As the forest on the Island has matured, they have been seen in increasing numbers, and are often to be seen resting on a pūriri branch after gorging themselves on the fruit.

Learn more about kererū at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by: Simon Fordham © (right) and Dr Kerry Rodgers © (left)

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking.