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Encyclopedia > Kereru
Conservation status: Lower Risk (nt)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae
Genus: Hemiphaga
Species: H. novaeseelandiae
Binomial name
Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae
(Gmelin, 1789)

The Kereru or New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae novaeseelandiae) is an endemic native bird of New Zealand and the Chatham Islands. Other Maori names for it are the Kukupa or Kuku, particularly in Northland, and Parea on the Chathams.

It is sometimes described as a woodpigeon, but it is in fact the only member of the unrelated pigeon genus Hemiphaga (Bonaparte, 1854).

The Kereru is herbivorous, primarily eating fruit from native trees. It plays an important ecological role as it is the only bird capable of eating the largest native drupes and thus spreading the seeds. Its head, throat, and wings are a shiny green-purple colour, its breast is typically white and its bill red. The Kereru makes an occasional soft coo sound (hence the onomatopoeic name) and its wings make a very distinctive whooshing sound as it flies.

It nests in trees, laying a single egg which is incubated for 28 days. The young bird then takes another 36 days to fledge.

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