New Zealand status: Endemic

Conservation status: Not Threatened

Population: Widespread throughout the country

Found in: Forested areas, particularly where there is pest control

Threats: Predation, habitat loss

Our Native Pigeons

There are two species of native pigeon:

New Zealand pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) known as kererū, or in Northland as kūkū or kūkupa
Chatham Islands Pigeon (Hemiphaga chathamensis) or parea
Kererū can measure up to 51 cm from tail to beak, and weigh about 650 g. Parea are around 20% heavier.
While kererū are not threatened, parea are considered nationally vulnerable. Two other kinds of native pigeon became extinct on Raoul Island and Norfolk Island last century, probably due to hunting and predation.


Nationally, the kererū population is considered to be stable but its numbers are gradually declining in areas where predation and illegal hunting are unchecked.
That decline has been offset due to recovery on predator-free offshore islands, or from large-scale recovery at sites with widespread pest control, particularly near large urban centres.
Although the kererū was traditionally hunted for its meat and feathers, hunting of the bird is now illegal.
The most serious threat to the kererū comes from predators. Recent studies in several parts of the country have found that many nests produce no chicks at all. Rats, stoats, cats and possums eat their eggs and young; stoats and cats will also attack and kill adult kererū.
Possums also compete with adult kererū for food (leaves, flowers, fruit) and devastate trees by consuming new shoots. Forest clearance and poaching are also threats to its survival. Research by the Department of Conservation, Landcare Research, universities and other groups has found that the species is unlikely to cope with hunting pressure.
In Northland, the kūkupa is in danger of becoming locally extinct through the combined effects of predation, competition and continued hunting.

With thanks to the Department Of Conservation as the source for this information and images


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