New Zealand bird of the year: ‘drunk, gluttonous’ kerer pigeon wins
Often heard before it is seen, the kerer has been known to fall out of the odd tree after too much fermented fruit
A native green and bronze wood pigeon with a taste for fermented fruit has been named the 2018 bird of the year in New Zealand.
The kerer is endemic to the country and can be found in both the North and South islands, living in cities as well as rural areas. Although quiet and reclusive by nature, kerer have earned a reputation as the drunkest bird in New Zealand, and been known to fall from trees after consuming rotting fruit left lying on the ground. During the summer when fruit is in abundance drunk kerer are sometimes taken to wildlife centres to sober up.
Described by conservation group Forest and Bird as clumsy, drunk, gluttonous and glamorous, the Kerer population is not endangered, but is vulnerable to attacks by predators such as feral cats and stoats, and also competes with possums for food.
Kerer play a vital role in dispersing the seeds of native New Zealand species such as karaka, miro, tawa and taraire across large areas, because they are one of the few birds large enough to swallow the fruit whole.
It was the clear leader in the poll, with 5,833 votes. The kkp came second with 3,772 and the Kak or black stilt, an extremely rare bird that is raised by hand, coming third with 2,995 votes.