Kerehu - New Zealand Wood Pigeon
Photograph - Photograph
The New Zealand Pigeon or kereru is a bird endemic to New Zealand but its population declined considerably after the arrival of humans in New Zealand. This trend continues, especially in the North Island, but they are still relatively common in the west of the South Island and in coastal Otago. They are commonly found in native laurel forests, scrub, rural and city gardens and parks.
The introduced Australian common brushtail possum and introduced species of rats, mainly the ship or black rat have not only significantly reduced the amount of fruit available for pigeons and other native birds but they also prey on eggs and nestlings.
Restrictions on the shooting of pigeons were enacted as early as 1864, with total protection since 1921, although the enforcement against hunting was not consistent. Some Maori protested, claiming a traditional right to hunt the pigeon.
The bird is protected under the Wildlife Act and there have been prosecutions for shooting it.
The New Zealand Pigeons make occasional soft coo sounds and their wings make a very distinctive whooshing sound as they fly.
I took this photo at the Blackball cemetery on the South Island's West Coast.
August 18th, 2013
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