There are three species of kiwi, the brown,
little spotted and great spotted. The kiwi became a protected species in
This photo of a great spotted kiwi
is used with the permission
of Don Hadden.
The Brown Kiwi can be either North,
South or Stewart Island brown kiwi. These outnumber the other species and
are the best known.
Kiwi are about the size of a large
chicken, although size can range from a bantam to the biggest hen. The
kiwi, looking from the outside, lacks wings and a tail. It has long whiskers
and uses them like radar as it does not have good sight, although it's
hearing is. This bird has nostrils at the end of its bill which it uses to
sniff out food in the earth and leaf litter in the forests of New Zealand.
Kiwi live in a bush habitat,
coming out at night to forage for worms
and grubs. They also eat
Kiwi dig burrows for shelter and for
nesting. The female lays an egg which the male then incubates for between
The egg weighs about 420g, almost the same as six hens eggs, and is smooth
and white often with a green tinge. Brown kiwi will lay a second
egg 3-4 weeks after the first one has been laid.
chicks emerge fully feathered, open-eyed and with their stomachs filled
with yolk. By the end of it's first week of existence the chick will venture out
of the nest with the male. Chicks quickly learn to forage for
themselves. After about three weeks it leaves the nest.
The average lifespan
of a kiwi has not been established yet but kiwi probably live 20 to 30
years when in the wild, that is, if they escape being killed by ferrets,
stoats, weasels, cats, dogs, or people. Man sometimes inadvertantly
harms these birds through the use of gin traps being set for possums or
when bush or scrub is burnt off.
The kiwi's icon
status is demonstated by its use to describe the people of New Zealand.
New Zealanders worldwide
are known as kiwis, a title we bear proudly. As we are a sporting nation
the call of kiwi can be heard from the rugby fields of South Africa to
the cycle tracks of the Olympics; from the Netball courts of the United
Kingdom to Auckland and the America's Cup ( WE HAVE IT!)
Kiwi and New
Zealanders are inseparable. Businesses trade under the name of KIWI or
use emblems of them, as do our airforce. The kiwi has even made it
onto postage stamps and coins. MacDonald's have a kiwiburger. New
Zealand's first America's Cup yatching challenge in 1987 sailed under the
name Kiwi Magic.
the kiwifriut or
sometimes known as the kiwi is an oval brown furry fruit with green flesh
and black seeds. Originally this came from China but was very tiny and
used in an ornamental capacity. This fruit was further developed in New
Zealand and is exported to USA, Europe and Asia. It is hard when upripe and best eaten when it has softened. An bag of kiwifruit can be ripened by putting an apple in the bag.