Pigeons of Auckland

| Illustration by Yi Jong


A city is only as great as its pigeons, and if Auckland’s pigeons are anything to go by, Auckland isn’t so great. I now live in the central city and one of the first things I noticed was how manky the birds seem to be. They are hardened from a life lived in such close proximity to humans and cars and shops that sell the battered carcass of their cousins, the chicken, and it shows. It did get me thinking about all the different feathery friends I have seen on my journeys, so here’s a little list of all the pigeons you can expect to see.


The Pilot

An expert in flight. Gets as close as possible to you before veering off. Precision and power. Often considered the most impressive of the pigeons.



The Drunk Pilot

Unlike its sober counterpart, this pigeon is like the GP to your heart surgeon. He had high hopes but ultimately settled for mediocrity. No fancy manoeuvre here, this feathery fella is often found landing firmly on the hoods of cars and knocking into street signs.



The Cannibal

We all love a fried chicken shop to close out our night, and pigeons are no different. Often seen coated in the fried skin and grease of its feathered cousins, adorning it like a cape across their back. These pigeons have a certain twitch and itch that only comes from feasting on the scraps of, well, bird.

The City Slicker

Why are the city birds so oily? But not in a good way.


The Ponsonby (extinct)

Pigeons? In Ponsonby? Please we only have Tūī birds here.


The Karangahape

Most commonly seen outside Verona nibbling away on the buds of leftover darts and fluttering through vape clouds. Can’t be good for their little lungs but at least they look cool.


The Bouncer

This one has been hogging all the food scraps and it shows. Broad shoulders and a wide set waist make for an intimidatingly large bird that shows no fears from challengers, whether bird or human. Rumoured to be descendants of the mighty Moa.


The Wellingtonian

Less of a wind swept bird and more of a wind rattled one. Feathers dry and fraying and jutting in all directions. All that effort doing their feathers before they left home, and for what?



The Great Northern Migration

No NX1 needed for these brave birdies. They have traversed the gridlocked Auckland Harbour Bridge, they have braved the winds that have been known to take down even large vehicles (never forget the time wind brought Auckland to a standstill) and they have found themselves north of the city. Many can be found happily enjoying scraps around Northcote and Birkenhead, but for the marathon enthusiasts that find themselves even further north, the true rewards can be found.


The De(von)portee

Much like diversity, pigeons are not very welcome here.