Monday, 2 February 2009

Freaky Facts about kereru

1) In Northland the New Zealand pigeon has the Maori name kuku or kukupa. Other places it’s known as kereru. On the Chatham Islands the native pigeon is called parea, but that’s a different species altogether, called Hemiphaga chathamensis.
2) The kereru has an important job helping the spread of native trees. Since the moa became extinct, back in the 1500s, the native pigeon is now the only seed disperser with a bill big enough to swallow large fruit, such as those of karaka, tawa and taraire, the DOC website says.
3) A New Zealand pigeon is a big bird. They can measure up to 51cm from tail to beak, and weight 650g.
4) Nest-making is not one of the kereru’s greatest skills. The pigeon throws together a flimsy nest of twigs and lays a single egg, which takes 28 days to hatch. Both parents take turns to sit on the egg.
5) Pigeon chicks are fed on a fruit smoothy mixture that helps them grow fast. This is made from a protein-rich milky secretion that comes from the walls of their parents’ crops, which is mixed fruit pulp. The chicks generally leave the nest after 40 days.

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