New Zealand wood pigeon - kereru

Distribution New Zealand wood pigeons are forest birds favouring lowland forests dominated by podocarps. The wood pigeon is found in most areas of both the North and South Island.

Diet Berries of the puriri, Miro, taraire and karaka, supplemented by nikau and kahikatea are the wood pigeon’s favourite food all the year round. They also eat the berries and new growth of other species. Wood pigeons can drink without raising their heads to swallow, which is unusual for a bird. They are the only native bird large enough to eat the big fruit of some of our important native forest trees. As the abundance and distribution of wood pigeon declines the distribution of the seed from these trees, such as tawa, miro karaka, taraire, and puriri will be limited.

Breeding The New Zealand wood pigeon breeds in spring and early summer. Mating is characterised by spectacular aerial displays of both sexes, particularly the male. The female lays a single egg which is very long, narrow and white. Both adults care for the egg during the 28 day incubation period, the female through the night and morning, and the male midday till evening. The wood pigeon breeds very slowly and studies show that fewer than 15% of chicks survive to independence.

General There are two sub species of wood pigeon, Novaeseelandiae, which breed on the three main islands. Chathamensis reside in the Chatham Islands, are a larger species.  Spadicea survived on Norfolk Island until the 1800's

The wood pigeon was considered good eating and was preserved and stored, as shown below.

Common page
Birds of New Zealand
Wood pigeon, Kereru birds of New Zealand
Wood pigeon, Kereru birds of New Zealand
Steven Reekie
Wood pigeon, Kereru birds of New Zealand
Steven Reekie
Steven Reekie
wood pigeon - Kereru
Paul Knight

"Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image."Reference number: 1/1-017332-G

Young Maori man alongside the doorway of a pataka (Maori storehouse) with taha (Maori calabashes made from the fruit of the gourd plant) for holding preserved birds such as Wood Pigeon. Photographer unknown. Note the carving to the right. Awesome photo for the time. The more you look the more you notice.