Watch the Drunkest Wood Pigeon That Needs to Sober Up!

Kereru
© Melinda Mackenzie/iStock via Getty Images

Written by Sharon Parry

Published: December 13, 2023

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Meet the kereru, otherwise known as the New Zealand pigeon or wood pigeon. They won the New Zealand bird of the year in 2018. But this is a bird with a drink problem! At certain times of the year, they binge on ripe fruits. In some of the fruit, the sugars have started to ferment and turn to alcohol and the birds actually get drunk! In this startling footage, we get to see them lose coordination and fall over. Some have been seen falling from trees and they even pass out. They can also fall on or in front of cars! The local humans are asked to take them to bird rescue centers if they come across them.

Watch the Extraordinary Sight Now

Where Do Kereru Pigeons Normally Live

Kereru (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) or New Zealand pigeon is a species of pigeon endemic to New Zealand, Arthur's Pass, South Island, New Zealand

Kereru are often spotted perching on electric lines.

©Leamus/iStock via Getty Images

The scientific name for the kereru is Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae and they are an endemic New Zealand bird. Their numbers are not threatened and they are a familiar sight to many New Zealanders. Also, their distribution within the country is widespread. You are most likely to spot them in native forests and other rural habitats. At the same time, they are frequent visitors to urban areas including inner cities. You will frequently spot them in urban parks and suburban gardens. They gather together in feeding flocks that contain between 20 and 50 birds. These birds are very tolerant of humans and can be seen roosting on powerlines – which they fall off when they are drunk!

What Do New Zealand Pigeons Normally Eat?

They primarily feed on fruits, flowers, buds, and leaves. Their preference is for ripe fruits and this results in the spectacle we see in the clip! Sometimes they feed on shrubs and trees but in a few locations, they ground feed – probably on clover and herbs. Their favorite tree species are kowhai, broom, and willow.

What Threats Do They Face?

Unlike many other bird species, these guys have not suffered from habitat loss. However, the populations are threatened by some invasive species. Mammalian predators present the main threat. These include feral cats, stoats, possums, and ship rats. All of these predators target the wood pigeons especially when they are nesting. Others are killed by collisions with vehicles or by colliding with power lines or telephone wires. Some have even been electrocuted when perching on power poles! In some areas of New Zealand, the predator populations have been removed and the kereru numbers have increased significantly.


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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