New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1978) 1: 99- 108

The food of the New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaseelandiae novaeseelandiae)

Research Article
W. Mary McEwen  
  1. Forest Research Institute, New Zealand Forest Service, Rotorua, New Zealand

New Zealand pigeons (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae novaeseelandiae) are the main dispersers of large-seeded fruit in indigenous forest. They eat a wide range of plant material including leaves, shoots, buds and flowers as well as fruits. Food items found in the alimentary tracts of 177 pigeons and information from published and unpublished observations showed that 104 plant taxa contributed to the diet. Of these, 78 were indigenous and 26 were exotic species. Feeding on nine of the species found in the dissections had not been recorded elsewhere. Fruits or seeds of 14 species, and material other than fruit of 19 species. were found in the dissections. The list of observations includes 56 species from which fruit is eaten and 43 from which other material is taken.