New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Extra Dawn Chorus Trip

Date posted: 20-Oct-2016

Stop Press: Extra Dawn Chorus trip now scheduled for Thursday 27th October 2016. ..

2016 AGM

Date posted: 06-Sep-2016

The 2016 AGM was held at the Kohia Centre at 7:30 pm on Monday 19th September. Click here (/..

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

Lifespan:

 10 years possibly

Breeding:

 September - February

Diet:

 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.