Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae
Species Authority: (Gmelin, 1789)
Common Name/s:
English New Zealand Pigeon

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor/s: BirdLife International
Reviewer/s: Symes, A. & Butchart, S.
Facilitator/s: Benstead, P., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S., McClellan, R., Taylor, J.
Introduced predators, hunting and habitat degradation are all taking their toll on this pigeon which is undergoing a moderately rapid population reduction as a result. It is classified as Near Threatened.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: 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).

New Zealand
Regionally extinct:
Norfolk Island
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as not uncommon (Gibbs et al. 2001).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

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

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): 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 [top]

Conservation Actions: 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.

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 24 April 2014.
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