Kereru gorging on guava

At Warblers Retreat we have named all our bedrooms after several native birds that also live on the property – there are many!  When creating the studio suite we felt it definitely had to be named after the Kereru.

There’s a couple of guava bushes outside the studio window and as soon as the guava ripen (around March/April), you see the Kereru are in for a feed.  Some of the birds are so heavy the branches almost break with their weight!

Kereru is the Maori name for Wood Pigeon and they are widespread throughout New Zealand.  They feast on a variety of food include buds, leaves, flowers and fruit from a wide variety species, both native and exotic.  They are particularly fond of the berries found in Puriri trees.  In the early years they were often an easy food source for Maori because of their tendency to gorge themselves on the berries, become drunk and fall out of the tree!

They lay their eggs mostly between September-April. During the non-breeding season.  Kereru can be fairly inconspicuous, feeding and then roosting under a thick canopy for sometimes hours at a time. In the breeding season, they can be just the opposite, perching on top of trees with males giving frequent display flights at the start of a nesting cycle. While not a territorial species, an individual will defend a food tree against other pigeons attempting to feed in it too. Fights involve hitting each other with their wings while flapping about in flight and moving only a metre or two.

Seed dispersal is one thing the Kereru is renowned for.  By consuming large fleshy fruits kereru play an important role as seed dispersers in our New Zealand forest ecosystems.

Our friend Kirsty Powell has written the following poem that captures the key characteristics of the  Kereru bird.


       The Kereru Song

I am a great big stoic chap

my name is Kereru,

I crash amongst the forest trees

My wings go Choo, Choo, Choo


I have a huge white tum in front

And head of purple green,

I like to eat the forest fruit

No one could call me lean!

I have a special forest job

As a big delivery van,

I swallow all the berries whole

And drop them where I can.

So if you see a seedling tree

Upon the forest floor,

Spare a thought for Kereru

AIRPOST – door to door!

                                                                    Kirsty Powell


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