Photo: Ross Weinberg
The kereru is New Zealand’s only surviving native pigeon. They are long-lived birds that breed very slowly, and they are currently fighting for survival.
Kereru are now the only birds left that are capable of swallowing fruit greater than 12 mm in diameter and dispersing the seed again whole. This means the future of our native trees is closely linked to the survival of our kereru.
Recent studies have shown that despite the fact that kereru can live between 15 and 20 years, the average lifespan in some parts of the country is between 1½ and 5½ years. The biggest threats to kereru are impact injuries with windows and cars, closely followed by habitat loss, predation and illegal hunting.
What can you do to help?
Consider planting trees in your garden to encourage kereru to visit. Kereru have adapted their diet over the years to eat plants that are both native and exotic.
Examples of these include: Wineberry, Coprosma, Cabbage Tree, Broadleaf, Pigeonwood, Southern Rata, Puriri, Miro, Matai, Kowhai, Wattle, Scottish Broom, Tree Lucerne, Holly, Laburnum, Virgillia, Silver Poplar, Flowering Cherry/Plum, Pear, Willow and Rowan.
Information source: Forest and Bird