© Tony Stoddard

Kererū are the great gardeners of the New Zealand skies. 

Native to New Zealand, kererū (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) can be found on the North, South and Stewart islands and many forested offshore islands.

This species is also known as kereru, kukupa, kuku, wood pigeon, native pigeon, kokopa and New Zealand pigeon. There is no other species in New Zealand that looks similar to the kererū, apart from the Chatham Island pigeon (Hemiphaga chathamensis), which is confined to the Chatham Islands.

Kererū eat the fruit, leaves, twigs, buds, and shoots of over a hundred native, and 50 exotic, shrubs and trees. Occasionally, they gorge so heavily on ripe fruit that they become very full (or “drunk”) and have been known to fall out of trees.

Kererū recovery is critical to the survival of New Zealand's unique forests, because they are one of the only surviving mainland native species able to swallow the fruit of some of these forest trees. Some of these seeds need to pass through the gut of a bird to germinate, meaning the health of our forests is absolutely dependent on kererū.

Great Kererū Count

The Great Kererū Count takes place annually.  For more details visit Kererū Discovery.

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Curious about Kererū?

To learn more about kererū, visit New Zealand Birds Online or Kererū Discovery.

Help us save kererū

Donate now and help us to protect kererū by:

  • supporting community groups across the Wellington Region to work with councils to help protect kererū

  • carrying out targeted planting in reserves and to enhance bush remnants

  • planting more native trees in our urban environment to act as stopping-off points for kererū and giving them year-round food sources

  • encouraging more people to plant native trees in their backyards to provide food 

  • identifying kererū “hot-spots” – breeding, nesting and feeding sites – and we need everyone to help us protect these against predators and disturbance

  • building up a picture of the key threats to kererū, enabling us to be more effective in managing these threats.

Kererū Discovery Project

Vision: to one day see large flocks of  kererū in our skies again.

The Kererū Discovery Project is a partnership of WWF-New Zealand and Wellington City Council, with support from Victoria University of Wellington, Forest & Bird, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Wellington Zoo,  Zealandia (Karori Sanctuary Trust),  Nelson City Council and the Department of Conservation.