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 Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae

This taxon is Not Recognised as a species by BirdLife International.

Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
Turbott, E. G. 1990. Checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

Taxonomic note
Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae and H. chathamensis (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as H. novaeseelandiae following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

51 cm. Large, plump green and white pigeon. Head, throat, upper breast and upperparts metallic green with purple sheen; clearly demarcated white lower breast, underparts and legs; red bill and feet; Chatham subspecies larger with ashy-grey wash. Similar species None. Hint: Listen for distinctive noisy wingbeats overhead. Voice: call single 'kuu'.

Distribution and population
Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae is a forest pigeon endemic to New Zealand. The nominate subspecies breeds on the North, South and Stewart Islands, and several offshore islands. It is in rapid decline in Northland - a 1993 survey indicated a 50% decline within 14 years (Pierce et al. 1993). Studies indicate that declines are occurring elsewhere (Mander et al. 1998). The subspecies chathamensis is only found in the Chatham Islands. The subspecies spadicea, of Norfolk Island, went extinct in the early 20th century (Schodde et al. 1983).

It breeds in native forest, in the non-breeding season birds also utilise exotic plantations and suburban areas.

Introduced predators are the primary cause of decline nationwide, in particular, brush-tailed possum Trichosurus vulpecula, black rat Rattus rattus, stoat Mustela erminea and cats (Mander et al. 1998). T. vulpecula and R. rattus also compete for fruit, reducing the number of breeding attempts, and possibly causing the starvation of adults (Mander et al. 1998). Loss of forest habitat through burning and clearance for farmland, removal of firewood and browsing by herbivores is also a threat (Aikman et al. 2001). Birds are illegally hunted for food, particularly in Northland, with perhaps hundreds being shot each year (Heather and Robertson 1997, Pullman and Pullman 1997).

Conservation Actions Underway
In some small areas, intensive predator control has seen numbers undergo unprecedented increases, while work on the Chatham Islands has reversed the decline of chathamensis, from 40 individuals in the 1980s to c.200 in 1996 (Grant et al. 1997). Conservation Actions Proposed
Regularly monitor to determine population trends. Investigate the extent of hunting by local residents. Control hunting where possible, perhaps using awareness campaigns. Protect significant areas of intact native forest throughout its range. Control introduced predators and competitors at key sites.

Aikman, H.; Davis, A.; Miskelly, C.; O'Connor, S.; Taylor, G. 2001. Chatham Islands threatened birds: recovery and management plans. Department of Conservation, Wellington, New Zealand.

Gibbs, D.; Barnes, E.; Cox, J. 2001. Pigeons and doves: a guide to the pigeons and doves of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, U.K.

Grant, A. D.; Powlesland, R. G.; Dilks, P. J.; Flux, I. A.; Tisdall, C. J. 1997. Mortality, distribution, numbers and conservation of the Chatham Island Pigeon Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae chathamensis. Notornis 44: 65-77.

Heather, B. D.; Robertson, H. A. 1997. The field guide to the birds of New Zealand. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Higgins, P. J. 1999. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds: parrots to dollarbirds. Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.

Holdaway, R.N. and Christian, M. 2010. Stopping the fourth wave: conservation and restoration of the Norfolk Island ecosystem. Wingspan 20(4 (supplement)): 30-35.

Mander, C.; Hay, R.; Powlesland, R. 1998. Monitoring and management of Kereru Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae. Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Pierce, R. J.; Atkinson, R.; Smith, E. 1993. Changes in bird numbers in six Northland forests. Notornis 40: 285-293.

Pullman, N.; Pullman, M. 1997. Motatau Kukupa: science and tradition join forces to protect a northern forest. Forest and Bird 286: 26-31.

Schodde, R.; Fullagar, P.; Hermes, N. 1983. A review of Norfolk Island birds: past and present. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Canberra.

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S., McClellan, R., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae. Downloaded from on 30/06/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 30/06/2015.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - New Zealand pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Not Recognised
Family Columbidae (Pigeons, Doves)
Species name author (Gmelin, 1789)