The kererū or New Zealand pigeon is a species of pigeon native to the New Zealand mainland. Described by Johann Friedrich Gmelin in 1789, it is a large, conspicuous pigeon with a white breast and green-blue plumage, which is found in a variety of habitats across New Zealand. The kererū feeds mainly on fruits, although it also consumes leaves, buds and flowers. It is the only remaining New Zealand bird capable of swallowing large fruit, making it a ...
n important seed disperser for native trees.
Although widespread in both forest and urban habitats, its numbers have declined significantly since European colonisation and the arrival of invasive mammals such as rats, stoats and possums. However, the results of nationwide bird surveys indicate that there has been a significant recovery in the population of kererū in suburban areas. Despite this, as of 2021 the IUCN Red List classifies the species as "Near Threatened", while the Department of Conservation classifies kererū as "Not Threatened" but conservation dependent. Two subspecies have been recognised, although the second—the Norfolk pigeon of Norfolk Island—became extinct in the early 20th century.
Considered a taonga to the Māori people, the kererū was historically a major food source in Māori culture. However, due to the previous decline in its population, hunting it is illegal. Customary use of kererū is restricted to the use of feathers and bones obtained from dead birds collected by the Department of Conservation. This issue has received significant public and political attention, as some people argue that bans on kererū hunting are detrimental to Māori traditions. In 2018 the kererū was designated Bird of the Year by the New Zealand Forest & Bird organisation, and in 2019, the exoplanet HD 137388 b was renamed "Kererū" in its honour.