You may heard about the kiwi, a green fruit you usually eat with a spoon? It is not that kiwi I am going to tell you about. What I am supposed to tell you about, is the kiwi bird, a flightless bird in only New Zealand. The bird is a national symbol for their country and the inhabitants even call themselves ''kiwis''.
In the late of the 1800s, settlers moved into the island New Zealand. They brought cats, dogs and other animals that ate the kiwi-eggs or the bird itself. We can see that the population of kiwi birds have fell much since then. For around 80 years ago there was 5 million birds, but today they only are 50.000-60.00 again. A few years ago, they started a program called Kiwi Recovery. People in New Zealand have learned to keep their dogs leashed and to slow their car when they see a bird. Only with long-therm care the national symbol of New Zealand will survive.
The kiwi bird grow to about the size of a chicken, and its weight is around 1-3kg. The body is covered in shaggy, dull brown feathers. Their wings are tiny and long, and around 3 cm. Since they are so tiny, the wings are useless. They don't have any tale, but their legs are very strong which make up to about one third of it's total body weight. There are 3 toes at each foot, and they can outran a human, and they
Two points whats unsual with this bird is its nostrils and its eggs. The kiwi bird lays eggs 20% of its own body wight. In proportion to its body size, the kiwi bird lay the largest egg. Breeding season are from late winter to early summer. The female lay the egg, and the male incubates the egg for nearly 80 days. The other point is the nostrils. They are at the end of the birds bill. The sense of smell is very good, and the bird use it to find food and lives on grubs, worms, bugs, berries and seeds. The sense is so good, that the smell can warn about danger. Their sense of hearing are also good. The bird have been seen tipping their heads toward a sound to listen more closely, like humans.
This birds are largely nocturnal, they sleep in daytime and are awake in nighttime, so its is rarely seen by people. Because it lives in the night, they use their nostrils to find food, maybe that is the reason for why the nostrils are at the end of the beak? The bird are also a very shy bird, it would rather run than fight. It is scared of humans. The birds main weapon is the legs and the sharp claws. But it also can use its beak, which they use like a sword. A kiwi can be up to 40 years in the wild, and up to 30 years in zoos.
There are three accepted species of the kiwi bird. The North Island Brown Kiwi, the most common bird, is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island with about 35.000 birds. The females weight is about 2.8 kg, and the males wight is about 2.2 kg. The female usually lays two eggs. The Okarito Brown Kiwi is distributed in the South Island of New Zealand. They are a recently sub-species of the North Island Brown as I actually told you about, they are only smaller and lays three eggs in a season instead of two. These two species is counted as one, because they are two sub-species. Closer explained they are so like each other, that we include they as one. The second specie is the Great Spotted Kiwi. This bird is the largest one were the males weight about 3.3 kg and the males 2.4 kg. The population of these birds are 20.000 and are distributed through the more mountainous parts of northwest Nelson. This bird lays only one egg. The third is the Little Spotted Kiwi, living on the Kapiti Island. This bird is very small, the female wight is only 1.3 kg. This bird lays only one egg and is unable to survive, there are only 1.000 left.