The kukupa or New Zealand pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) is gradually declining on the New Zealand mainland, due mostly to predation by introduced pest mammals including ship rats (Rattus rattus) and brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula). We report on a co-operative project between Maori landowners, the Department of Conservation, and Manaaki WhenuaLandcare Research researchers to restore a Northland kukupa population and to examine kukupa nesting success in relation to pest abundance.
Anticoagulant poisons were laid within native forest at Wenderholm Regional Park (near Auckland) to reduce rat numbers during the summer months. Snap trapping indices and an artificial nest experiment confirmed the high potential for rat interference in unpoisoned forest patches outside Wenderholm, compared with the near-zero potential at Wenderholm. Over two breeding seasons, 70 New Zealand pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) nests were located and monitored.
Satellite transmitters (PTTs) were attached to four kereru (New Zealand pigeon, Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) in Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand, during 2005–06. The transmitters were used to monitor the birds’ locations, movements and home ranges. Attachment of the transmitters affected the behaviour and body condition of one of the kereru; no other negative effects, such as skin abrasion, were noticed.