Kiwi
Overview
Kiwi are flightless bird
Flightless bird
Flightless birds are birds which lack the ability to fly, relying instead on their ability to run or swim. They are thought to have evolved from flying ancestors. There are about forty species in existence today, the best known being the ostrich, emu, cassowary, rhea, kiwi, and penguin...

s endemic to New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, in the genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Apteryx and family Apterygidae.

At around the size of a domestic chicken, kiwi are by far the smallest living ratite
Ratite
A ratite is any of a diverse group of large, flightless birds of Gondwanan origin, most of them now extinct. Unlike other flightless birds, the ratites have no keel on their sternum—hence the name from the Latin ratis...

s and lay the largest egg
Egg (biology)
An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing...

 in relation to their body size of any species of bird in the world. There are five recognised species, all of which are endangered
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

; all species have been adversely affected by historic deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

 but currently large areas of their forest habitat are well protected in reserves and national parks.
Encyclopedia
Kiwi are flightless bird
Flightless bird
Flightless birds are birds which lack the ability to fly, relying instead on their ability to run or swim. They are thought to have evolved from flying ancestors. There are about forty species in existence today, the best known being the ostrich, emu, cassowary, rhea, kiwi, and penguin...

s endemic to New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, in the genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Apteryx and family Apterygidae.

At around the size of a domestic chicken, kiwi are by far the smallest living ratite
Ratite
A ratite is any of a diverse group of large, flightless birds of Gondwanan origin, most of them now extinct. Unlike other flightless birds, the ratites have no keel on their sternum—hence the name from the Latin ratis...

s and lay the largest egg
Egg (biology)
An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing...

 in relation to their body size of any species of bird in the world. There are five recognised species, all of which are endangered
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

; all species have been adversely affected by historic deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

 but currently large areas of their forest habitat are well protected in reserves and national parks. At present, the greatest threat to their survival is predation by invasive mammalian predators.

The kiwi is a national symbol of New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, and the association is so strong that the term Kiwi is used all over the world as the colloquial demonym
Demonym
A demonym , also referred to as a gentilic, is a name for a resident of a locality. A demonym is usually – though not always – derived from the name of the locality; thus, the demonym for the people of England is English, and the demonym for the people of Italy is Italian, yet, in english, the one...

 for New Zealanders.

Species

There are five known species of kiwi, as well as a number of subspecies.
  • The largest species is the Great Spotted Kiwi
    Great Spotted Kiwi
    The Great Spotted Kiwi, Great Gray Kiwi, or Roroa, Apteryx haastii, is a species of kiwi endemic to the South Island of New Zealand. The Great Spotted Kiwi, as a member of the Ratites, is flightless. It is the largest of the kiwi...

     or Roroa, Apteryx haastii, which stands about 45 cm (17.7 in) high and weighs about 3.3 kg (7.3 lb) (males about 2.4 kg (5.3 lb)). It has grey-brown plumage
    Plumage
    Plumage refers both to the layer of feathers that cover a bird and the pattern, colour, and arrangement of those feathers. The pattern and colours of plumage vary between species and subspecies and can also vary between different age classes, sexes, and season. Within species there can also be a...

     with lighter bands. The female lays just one egg, which both parents then incubate. Population is estimated to be over 20,000, distributed through the more mountainous parts of northwest Nelson, the northern West Coast, and the Southern Alps
    Southern Alps
    The Southern Alps is a mountain range extending along much of the length of New Zealand's South Island, reaching its greatest elevations near the island's western side...

    .
  • The very small Little Spotted Kiwi
    Little Spotted Kiwi
    The Little Spotted Kiwi or Little Gray Kiwi, Apteryx owenii, is a small species of kiwi originally from New Zealand's South Island that, around 1890 and 1910 was captured and later released on Kapiti Island...

    , Apteryx owenii is unable to withstand predation by introduced pig
    Pig
    A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives...

    s, stoat
    Stoat
    The stoat , also known as the ermine or short-tailed weasel, is a species of Mustelid native to Eurasia and North America, distinguished from the least weasel by its larger size and longer tail with a prominent black tip...

    s and cats, which have led to its extinction on the mainland. About 1350 remain on Kapiti Island
    Kapiti Island
    -External links:* , Department of Conservation* * , Nature Coast Enterprise *...

     and it has been introduced to other predator-free islands and appears to be becoming established with about 50 'Little Spots' on each island. A docile bird the size of a bantam
    Bantam (chicken)
    A bantam is a small variety of poultry, especially chickens. Etymologically, the name bantam is derived from the city of Bantam - currently known as "Banten Province" or previously "Banten Residency" - once a major seaport, in Indonesia...

    , it stands 25 cm (9.8 in) high and the female weighs 1.3 kg (2.9 lb). She lays one egg which is incubated by the male.

  • The Okarito Kiwi, also known as the Rowi or Okarito Brown Kiwi, Apteryx rowi, first identified as a new species in 1994, is slightly smaller, with a greyish tinge to the plumage and sometimes white facial feathers. Females lay as many as three eggs in a season, each one in a different nest. Male and female both incubate. Distribution of these kiwi are limited to a small area on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. However, studies of ancient DNA have revealed that in prehuman times it was far more widespread up the west coast of the South Island and was present in the lower half of the North Island where it was the only kiwi species detected.
  • The Southern Brown Kiwi, Apteryx australis, relatively common species of kiwi known from south and west parts of the South Island that occurs at most elevations. It is approximately the size of the Great Spotted Kiwi and is similar in appearance to the Brown Kiwi but its plumage is lighter in colour. Ancient DNA studies have shown that in prehuman times the distribution of this species included the east coast of the South Island. There are several subspecies of the Tokoeka recognised:
    • The Stewart Island Southern Brown Kiwi, Apteryx australis lawryi, is a subspecies of Tokoeka from Stewart Island.
    • The Northern Fiordland Southern Brown Kiwi (Apteryx australis ?) and Southern Fiordland Tokoeka (Apteryx australis ?) live in the remote southwest part of the South Island known as Fiordland
      Fiordland
      Fiordland is a geographic region of New Zealand that is situated on the south-western corner of the South Island, comprising the western-most third of Southland. Most of Fiordland is dominated by the steep sides of the snow-capped Southern Alps, deep lakes and its ocean-flooded, steep western valleys...

      . These sub-species of Tokoeka are relatively common and are nearly 40 cm (15.7 in) tall.
    • The Haast Southern Brown Kiwi, Apteryx australis ‘Haast’, is the rarest subspecies of kiwi with only about 300 individuals. It was identified as a distinct form in 1993. It occurs only in a restricted area in the South Island's Haast Range of the Southern Alps
      Southern Alps
      The Southern Alps is a mountain range extending along much of the length of New Zealand's South Island, reaching its greatest elevations near the island's western side...

       at an altitude of 1500 m (4,921.3 ft). This form is distinguished by a more strongly downcurved bill and more rufous plumage.
  • The North Island Brown Kiwi
    North Island Brown Kiwi
    The North Island Brown Kiwi, Apteryx mantelli, Apteryx australis or Apteryx bulleri before 2000 , is a species of kiwi that is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island of New Zealand and, with about 35000 remaining, is the most common kiwi.-Taxonomy:Until 2000, the Brown Kiwi was...

    , Apteryx mantelli or Apteryx australis before 2000 (and still in some sources), is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island and, with about 35,000 remaining, is the most common kiwi. Females stand about 40 cm (15.7 in) high and weigh about 2.8 kg (6.2 lb), the males about 2.2 kg (4.9 lb). The North Island Brown has demonstrated a remarkable resilience: it adapts to a wide range of habitats, even non-native forests and some farmland. The plumage is streaky red-brown and spiky. The female usually lays two eggs, which are incubated by the male.


Analysis of mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria, structures within eukaryotic cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate...

, ecology
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

, behaviour, morphology
Morphology (biology)
In biology, morphology is a branch of bioscience dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features....

, geographic distribution and parasites of the North Island Brown Kiwi has led scientists to propose that the Brown Kiwi is three distinct species. The North Island Brown Kiwi; the Okarito Brown Kiwi (Rowi), whose distribution is restricted to a single site on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand; and a third distinct population of the North Island Brown Kiwi, the Southern Tokoeka, distributed in the lowland forest to the north of Franz Josef glacier
Franz Josef Glacier
The Franz Josef is a long glacier located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island...

 in the South Island and on Stewart Island/Rakiura
Stewart Island/Rakiura
Stewart Island/Rakiura is the third-largest island of New Zealand. It lies south of the South Island, across Foveaux Strait. Its permanent population is slightly over 400 people, most of whom live in the settlement of Oban.- History and naming :...

, with a small population near Haast
Haast, New Zealand
Haast is an area in the Westland District territorial authority on the west coast of New Zealand's South Island. The Haast region covers over ....

 being another possibly distinct species, the Haast Tokoeka.

Evolution

It was long presumed that the kiwi was closely related to the other New Zealand ratites, the moa
Moa
The moa were eleven species of flightless birds endemic to New Zealand. The two largest species, Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae, reached about in height with neck outstretched, and weighed about ....

. However, recent DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 studies indicate that the Ostrich
Ostrich
The Ostrich is one or two species of large flightless birds native to Africa, the only living member of the genus Struthio. Some analyses indicate that the Somali Ostrich may be better considered a full species apart from the Common Ostrich, but most taxonomists consider it to be a...

 is more closely related to the moa
Moa
The moa were eleven species of flightless birds endemic to New Zealand. The two largest species, Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae, reached about in height with neck outstretched, and weighed about ....

 and the kiwi is more closely related to the Emu
Emu
The Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae) is the largest bird native to Australia and the only extant member of the genus Dromaius. It is the second-largest extant bird in the world by height, after its ratite relative, the ostrich. There are three subspecies of Emus in Australia...

 and the cassowaries
Cassowary
The cassowaries are ratites, very large flightless birds in the genus Casuarius native to the tropical forests of New Guinea, nearby islands and northeastern Australia. There are three extant species recognized today...

. This theory suggests that the ancestors of the kiwi arrived in New Zealand from elsewhere in Australasia
Australasia
Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes...

 well after the moa
Moa
The moa were eleven species of flightless birds endemic to New Zealand. The two largest species, Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae, reached about in height with neck outstretched, and weighed about ....

. According to British scientists, the kiwi may be an ancient import from Australia. Researchers at Oxford University have found DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 evidence connected to Australia's Emu
Emu
The Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae) is the largest bird native to Australia and the only extant member of the genus Dromaius. It is the second-largest extant bird in the world by height, after its ratite relative, the ostrich. There are three subspecies of Emus in Australia...

 and the Ostrich
Ostrich
The Ostrich is one or two species of large flightless birds native to Africa, the only living member of the genus Struthio. Some analyses indicate that the Somali Ostrich may be better considered a full species apart from the Common Ostrich, but most taxonomists consider it to be a...

 of Africa. Upon examining DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 from the moa
Moa
The moa were eleven species of flightless birds endemic to New Zealand. The two largest species, Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae, reached about in height with neck outstretched, and weighed about ....

, they believe that the kiwi is more closely related to its Australian cousins.

Behaviour and ecology

Before the arrival of humans in the 13th century or earlier, New Zealand's only endemic mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s were three species of bat
Bat
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera "hand" and pteron "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly,...

, and the ecological niche
Ecological niche
In ecology, a niche is a term describing the relational position of a species or population in its ecosystem to each other; e.g. a dolphin could potentially be in another ecological niche from one that travels in a different pod if the members of these pods utilize significantly different food...

s that in other parts of the world were filled by creatures as diverse as horses, wolves and mice were taken up by birds (and, to a lesser extent, reptiles).

Kiwi are shy and usually nocturnal. Their mostly nocturnal habits may be a result of habitat intrusion by predators, including humans. In areas of New Zealand where introduced predators have been removed, such as sanctuaries, kiwi are often seen in daylight. They prefer subtropical and temperate podocarp and beech forests, but they are being forced to adapt to different habitat, such as sub-alpine scrub, tussock grassland, and the mountains. Kiwi have a highly developed sense of smell
Olfaction
Olfaction is the sense of smell. This sense is mediated by specialized sensory cells of the nasal cavity of vertebrates, and, by analogy, sensory cells of the antennae of invertebrates...

, unusual in a bird, and are the only birds with nostrils at the end of their long beak
Beak
The beak, bill or rostrum is an external anatomical structure of birds which is used for eating and for grooming, manipulating objects, killing prey, fighting, probing for food, courtship and feeding young...

s. Kiwi eat small invertebrates, seeds, grubs, and many varieties of worms. They also may eat fruit, small crayfish, eels and amphibians. Because their nostrils are located at the end of their long beaks, Kiwi can locate insects and worms underground using their keen sense of smell, without actually seeing or feeling them.
Once bonded, a male and female kiwi tend to live their entire lives as a monogamous couple. During the mating season, June to March, the pair call to each other at night, and meet in the nesting burrow every three days. These relationships may last for up to 20 years. They are unique among other birds in that they have a functioning pair of ovaries. Kiwi eggs can weigh up to one quarter the weight of the female. Usually only one egg is laid per season. The kiwi lays the biggest egg in proportion to its size of any bird in the world, so even though the kiwi is about the size of a domestic chicken, it is able to lay eggs that are about six times the size of a chicken's egg. Eggs are smooth in texture, and are ivory or greenish white. The male incubates the egg, except for the Great Spotted Kiwi, A. haastii, in which both parents are involved. The incubation period is 63–92 days. Producing the huge egg places a lot of demands on the female. For the thirty days it takes to grow the fully developed egg the female must eat three times her normal amount of food. Two to three days before the egg is laid there is little space left inside the female for her stomach and she is forced to fast.

Morphology

Their adaptation to a terrestrial life is extensive: like all ratites they have no keel on the breastbone to anchor wing muscles, and barely any wings. The vestiges are so small that they are invisible under the bristly, hair-like, two-branched feathers of the kiwi. While birds generally have bones with hollow insides to minimise (weight) and make flight practicable, kiwi have marrow, in the style of mammals. With no constraints on weight due to flight requirements, some Brown Kiwi females carry and lay a single 450 g (15.9 oz) egg
Egg (biology)
An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing...

. Like most other ratites, they have no preen gland. Their bill is long, pliable, and sensitive to the touch, and their eyes have a reduced pecten
Pecten oculi
The pecten or pecten oculi is a comb-like structure of blood vessels belonging to the choroid in the eye of a bird. It is non-sensory and is a pigmented structure that projects into the vitreous body from the point where the optic nerve enters the eyeball. The pecten is believed to both nourish the...

. Their feathers lack barbules, and aftershafts, and they have large vibrissae
Vibrissae
Vibrissae , or whiskers, are specialized hairs usually employed for tactile sensation. The term may also refer to the thick hairs found inside human nostrils, but these have no sensorial function and only operate as an airborne particulate barrier...

 around the gape
Gape
In bird anatomy, the gape is the interior of the open mouth of a bird and the gape flange is the region where the two mandibles join together, at the base of the beak...

. They have 13 flight feathers, no tail, just a small pygostyle
Pygostyle
Pygostyle refers to a number of the final few caudal vertebrae fused into a single ossification, supporting the tail feathers and musculature. In modern birds, the rectrices attach to these....

. Finally, their gizzard
Gizzard
The gizzard, also referred to as the ventriculus, gastric mill, and gigerium, is an organ found in the digestive tract of some animals, including birds, reptiles, earthworms and some fish. This specialized stomach constructed of thick, muscular walls is used for grinding up food; often rocks are...

 is weak and their caecum is long and narrow.

Relationship with humans

Kiwi and Māori

The Māori
Maori mythology
Māori mythology and Māori traditions are the two major categories into which the legends of the Māori of New Zealand may usefully be divided...

 traditionally believed that kiwi were under the protection of Tane Mahuta
Tane
In Māori mythology, Tāne is the god of forests and of birds, and the son of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, the sky father and the earth mother, who lie in a tight embrace...

, god of the forest. They were used as food and their feathers were used for kahu kiwi – ceremonial cloaks. Today, while kiwi feathers are still used, they are gathered from birds that die naturally or through road accidents or predation. Kiwis are no longer hunted, and some Maori consider themselves their guardians.

Discovery and documentation

The first kiwi specimen to be studied by Europeans was a kiwi skin brought to George Shaw
George Shaw
George Shaw was an English botanist and zoologist.Shaw was born at Bierton, Buckinghamshire and was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, receiving his M.A. in 1772. He took up the profession of medical practitioner. In 1786 he became the assistant lecturer in botany at Oxford University...

 by Captain Andrew Barclay aboard the ship Providence, who was reported to have been given it by a sealer in Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour)
Port Jackson
Port Jackson, containing Sydney Harbour, is the natural harbour of Sydney, Australia. It is known for its beauty, and in particular, as the location of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge...

 around 1811. George Shaw gave the bird its scientific name and drew sketches of the way he imagined a live bird to look which appeared as plates 1057 and 1058 in volume 24 of The Naturalist's Miscellany in 1813.

Zoos

In 1851, London Zoo
London Zoo
London Zoo is the world's oldest scientific zoo. It was opened in London on 27 April 1828, and was originally intended to be used as a collection for scientific study. It was eventually opened to the public in 1847...

 became the first zoo to keep kiwis. The first captive breeding took place in 1945. As of 2007 only 13 zoos outside New Zealand hold kiwis. The Frankfurt Zoo has 12, the Berlin Zoo has 7, Walsrode Bird Park
Walsrode Bird Park
Weltvogelpark Walsrode ia s bird park located in the middle of the Lüneburg Heath in North Germany within the municipality of Bomlitz near Walsrode in the state of Lower Saxony, Germany....

 has 1, the Washington Zoo has 3, the Avifauna Bird Park
Vogelpark Avifauna
Vogelpark Avifauna is a large bird park in Alphen aan den Rijn, in the western Netherlands. It was the first dedicated bird park in the world. The park has a lot of greenery and ponds, and also a restaurant and a children's playground...

 in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 has 3, the San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, San Diego, California, is one of the most progressive zoos in the world, with over 4,000 animals of more than 800 species...

 has 5, the San Diego Wild Animal Park
San Diego Wild Animal Park
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, formerly known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park, is a zoo in the San Pasqual Valley area of San Diego, California, near Escondido. It is one of the largest tourist attractions in San Diego County. The Park houses a large array of wild and endangered animals including...

 has 1, the Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Smithsonian National Zoological Park
The Smithsonian National Zoological Park, commonly known as the National Zoo, is one of the oldest zoos in the United States, and as part of the Smithsonian Institution, does not charge admission. Founded in 1889, its mission is to provide leadership in animal care, science, education,...

 has 5, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Smithsonian National Zoological Park
The Smithsonian National Zoological Park, commonly known as the National Zoo, is one of the oldest zoos in the United States, and as part of the Smithsonian Institution, does not charge admission. Founded in 1889, its mission is to provide leadership in animal care, science, education,...

 has 1 and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 has 3.

Etymology

The Māori language
Maori language
Māori or te reo Māori , commonly te reo , is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Māori. It has the status of an official language in New Zealand...

 word kiwi (icon )
is generally accepted to be "of imitative origin" from the call.
However, linguists derive the word from Proto-Nuclear Polynesian *kiwi, which refers to Numenius tahitiensis, the Bristle-thighed Curlew
Bristle-thighed Curlew
The Bristle-thighed Curlew, Numenius tahitiensis, is a large shorebird that breeds in Alaska and winters on tropical Pacific islands. It has a long, decurved bill and bristled feathers at the base of the legs. Its length is about 43 cm and wingspan about 84 cm...

, a migratory bird that winters in the tropical Pacific islands.
With its long decurved bill and brown body, the curlew resembles the Kiwi. So when the first Polynesian settlers arrived, they simply reused the word for the new-found bird. The genus name Apteryx is derived from Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

  "without wing": a-, "without" or "not"; pterux, "wing".

As a national symbol

The kiwi as a symbol first appeared in the late 19th century in New Zealand regimental badges. It was later featured in the badges of the South Canterbury Battalion in 1886 and the Hastings Rifle Volunteers in 1887. Soon after, the kiwi appeared in many military badges, and in 1906 when Kiwi Shoe Polish
Kiwi (shoe polish)
Kiwi is the brand name of a shoe polish, first made in Australia in 1906 and sold in almost 180 countries. Previously owned by the Sara Lee Corporation since 1984, it was sold in 2011 to SC Johnson...

 was widely sold in the UK and the US the symbol became more widely known.

During the First World War, the name "kiwi" for New Zealand soldiers came into general use, and a giant kiwi (now known as the Bulford Kiwi
Bulford Kiwi
The Bulford Kiwi is an immense drawing of a kiwi carved in the chalk on Beacon Hill above the then-military town of Bulford on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire...

), was carved on the chalk hill above Sling Camp
Sling camp
Sling Camp was a World War I camp occupied by New Zealand soldiers beside the then-military town of Bulford on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.-History:...

 in England. Use has now spread so that now all New Zealanders overseas and at home are commonly referred to as "kiwis
Kiwi (people)
Kiwi is the nickname used internationally for people from New Zealand, as well as being a relatively common self-reference. The name derives from the kiwi, a flightless bird, which is native to, and the national symbol of, New Zealand...

".

The kiwi has since become the most well-known national symbol for New Zealand, and the bird is prominent in the coat of arms, crests and badges of many New Zealand cities, clubs and organisations; at the national level, the red silhouette of a kiwi is in the center of the roundel
Roundel
A roundel in heraldry is a disc; the term is also commonly used to refer to a type of national insignia used on military aircraft, generally circular in shape and usually comprising concentric rings of different colours.-Heraldry:...

 of the Royal New Zealand Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force
The Royal New Zealand Air Force is the air arm of the New Zealand Defence Force...

.

The New Zealand dollar
New Zealand dollar
The New Zealand dollar is the currency of New Zealand. It also circulates in the Cook Islands , Niue, Tokelau, and the Pitcairn Islands. It is divided into 100 cents....

 is often referred to as "the kiwi dollar".

Threats to kiwi

Introduced mammalian predators, namely stoat
Stoat
The stoat , also known as the ermine or short-tailed weasel, is a species of Mustelid native to Eurasia and North America, distinguished from the least weasel by its larger size and longer tail with a prominent black tip...

s, dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

s, ferret
Ferret
The ferret is a domesticated mammal of the type Mustela putorius furo. Ferrets are sexually dimorphic predators with males being substantially larger than females. They typically have brown, black, white, or mixed fur...

s, and cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

s, are the number one threat to kiwi. Other threats include habitat modification/loss and road strike. The restricted distribution and small size of some kiwi populations increases their vulnerability to inbreeding.

Stoats are responsible for approximately half of kiwi chick deaths in many areas through New Zealand. Cats also to a lesser extent prey on kiwi chicks. The combined effect of these predators results in only 10% of kiwi chicks surviving to the age of six months. Young kiwi chicks are vulnerable to stoat predation until they reach about 1 - 1.2 kg in weight, at which time they can usually defend themselves.

Ferrets and dogs often kill adult kiwi. These predators can cause large and abrupt declines in populations. In particular, dogs find the strong distinctive scent of kiwi irresistible and easy to track, such that they can catch and kill kiwi in seconds. Motor vehicle strike is a threat to all kiwi where roads cross through their habitat. Badly set possum
Common Brushtail Possum
The Common Brushtail Possum is a nocturnal, semi-arboreal marsupial of the family Phalangeridae, it is native to Australia, and the largest of the possums.Like most possums, the Common Brushtail is nocturnal...

 traps also kill or maim a large number of kiwi each year.

Conservation

Nationwide studies show that on average only five percent of kiwi chicks survive to adulthood. However, in areas under active pest management, survival rates for North Island brown kiwi can be far higher. For example, prior to a joint 1080 poison operation undertaken by DOC and the Animal Health Board
Animal Health Board (New Zealand)
The Animal Health Board commonly known by its acronym, AHB, is an incorporated society, legally responsible for managing and implementing the National Pest Management Strategy for bovine tuberculosis in New Zealand. Its powers derive from the Biosecurity Act 1993 and its mission is to eradicate...

 in Tongariro Forest in 2006, 32 kiwi chicks were radio-tagged. 57% of the radio-tagged chicks survived to adulthood. Thanks to ongoing pest control, the adult kiwi population at Tongariro has almost doubled since 1998.

Kiwi sanctuaries

In 2000, the Department of Conservation
New Zealand Department of Conservation
The Department of Conservation , commonly known by its acronym, "DOC", is the state sector organisation which deals with the conservation of New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage...

 set up five kiwi sanctuaries focused on developing methods to protect kiwi and to increase their numbers. There are three kiwi sanctuaries in the North Island and two in the South Island:
  • Whangarei Kiwi Sanctuary (for Northland brown kiwi
    North Island Brown Kiwi
    The North Island Brown Kiwi, Apteryx mantelli, Apteryx australis or Apteryx bulleri before 2000 , is a species of kiwi that is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island of New Zealand and, with about 35000 remaining, is the most common kiwi.-Taxonomy:Until 2000, the Brown Kiwi was...

    )
  • Moehau Kiwi Sanctuary on the Coromandel Peninsula (Coromandel brown kiwi
    North Island Brown Kiwi
    The North Island Brown Kiwi, Apteryx mantelli, Apteryx australis or Apteryx bulleri before 2000 , is a species of kiwi that is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island of New Zealand and, with about 35000 remaining, is the most common kiwi.-Taxonomy:Until 2000, the Brown Kiwi was...

    )
  • Tongariro Kiwi Sanctuary near Taupo (western brown kiwi
    North Island Brown Kiwi
    The North Island Brown Kiwi, Apteryx mantelli, Apteryx australis or Apteryx bulleri before 2000 , is a species of kiwi that is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island of New Zealand and, with about 35000 remaining, is the most common kiwi.-Taxonomy:Until 2000, the Brown Kiwi was...

    )
  • Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary (rowi)
  • Haast Kiwi Sanctuary (Haast tokoeka)


A number of other mainland conservation islands
Ecological island
An ecological island is not necessarily an island surrounded by water, but is an area of land, isolated by natural or artificial means from the surrounding land, where a natural micro-habitat exists amidst a larger differing ecosystem....

 and fenced sanctuaries have significant populations of kiwi, including:
  • ZEALANDIA
    Karori Wildlife Sanctuary
    Zealandia, formerly known as the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, is a protected natural area in Wellington, New Zealand, where the biodiversity of 225 ha of forest is being restored...

     fenced sanctuary in Wellington (little spotted kiwi
    Little Spotted Kiwi
    The Little Spotted Kiwi or Little Gray Kiwi, Apteryx owenii, is a small species of kiwi originally from New Zealand's South Island that, around 1890 and 1910 was captured and later released on Kapiti Island...

    )
  • Maungatautari Restoration Project
    Maungatautari Restoration Project
    The Maungatautari Restoration Project is the largest ecological restoration project in New Zealand, located near Cambridge in the Waikato region in the central North Island of New Zealand....

     in Waikato
    Waikato
    The Waikato Region is a local government region of the upper North Island of New Zealand. It covers the Waikato, Hauraki, Coromandel Peninsula, the northern King Country, much of the Taupo District, and parts of Rotorua District...

     (brown kiwi
    North Island Brown Kiwi
    The North Island Brown Kiwi, Apteryx mantelli, Apteryx australis or Apteryx bulleri before 2000 , is a species of kiwi that is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island of New Zealand and, with about 35000 remaining, is the most common kiwi.-Taxonomy:Until 2000, the Brown Kiwi was...

    )
  • Bushy Park Forest Reserve
    Bushy Park Forest Reserve
    Bushy Park Forest Reserve is located on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand, at 791 Rangitatau East Road, from Kai Iwi, Whanganui, Manawatu-Wanganui Region. It features an Edwardian-era homestead Category One Heritage Building registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, a...

     in Kai Iwi, Whanganui
    Whanganui
    Various places in New Zealand are called Whanganui:*Whanganui, a city at the mouth of the Whanganui River, also often spelled "Wanganui", Manawatu-Wanganui Region*Whanganui District, Manawatu-Wanganui Region*Whanganui Island, Waikato Region...

     (brown kiwi
    North Island Brown Kiwi
    The North Island Brown Kiwi, Apteryx mantelli, Apteryx australis or Apteryx bulleri before 2000 , is a species of kiwi that is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island of New Zealand and, with about 35000 remaining, is the most common kiwi.-Taxonomy:Until 2000, the Brown Kiwi was...

    )
  • Otanewainuku Forest in the Bay of Plenty
    Bay of Plenty
    The Bay of Plenty , often abbreviated to BOP, is a region in the North Island of New Zealand situated around the body of water of the same name...

     (brown kiwi
    North Island Brown Kiwi
    The North Island Brown Kiwi, Apteryx mantelli, Apteryx australis or Apteryx bulleri before 2000 , is a species of kiwi that is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island of New Zealand and, with about 35000 remaining, is the most common kiwi.-Taxonomy:Until 2000, the Brown Kiwi was...

    )
  • Hurunui Mainland Island, south branch, Hurunui River, North Canterbury, great spotted kiwi

Operation Nest Egg

Operation Nest Egg is a programme run by the BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust - a partnership between the Bank of New Zealand
Bank of New Zealand
Bank of New Zealand is one of New Zealand’s largest banks and has been operating continuously in the country since the first office was opened in Auckland in October 1861 followed shortly after by the first branch in Dunedin in December 1861...

, the Department of Conservation
New Zealand Department of Conservation
The Department of Conservation , commonly known by its acronym, "DOC", is the state sector organisation which deals with the conservation of New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage...

 and the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society. Kiwi eggs and chicks are removed from the wild and hatched and/or raised in captivity until big enough to fend for themselves – usually when they weigh around 1200 grams. They are then returned to the wild. An Operation Nest Egg™ bird has a 65% chance of surviving to adulthood – compared to just 5% for wild-hatched and raised chicks. The tool is used on all kiwi species except little spotted kiwi
Little Spotted Kiwi
The Little Spotted Kiwi or Little Gray Kiwi, Apteryx owenii, is a small species of kiwi originally from New Zealand's South Island that, around 1890 and 1910 was captured and later released on Kapiti Island...

.

Kiwi and 1080 poison

In 2004, anti-1080
1080 usage in New Zealand
New Zealand is the largest user of biodegradable 1080 poison, using approximately 80 per cent of the world's supply. Biodegradable 1080 poison is the only toxin currently registered for use on mainland New Zealand as suitable for aerial targeting of the Common Brushtail Possum - a major...

 activist Phillip Anderton posed for the New Zealand media with a kiwi he claimed had been poisoned. An investigation revealed that Anderton lied to journalists and the public. He had used a kiwi that had been caught in a possum trap. Extensive monitoring shows kiwi are not at risk from the use of biodegradable 1080 poison.

External links

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