Kiwi is a marvelous bird that you get to see mainly in New Zealand. It is really disheartening that these birds are becoming extinct gradually and so everyone must take care to protect this endangered species if you wish to hear their songs.
Fact 1 Species
Kiwi is a close relative of the Cassowaries and Emus of Australia and Moa of New Zealand that are extinct now. It is stated that Kiwi is part of a group of birds known as Ratites. There are namely 5 species of Kiwi most of which are endangered. They are:
- Brown Kiwi
- Great Spotted Kiwi or Roroa
- Little Spotted Kiwi
Fact 2 Habitat
Kiwi mostly lives in the forests. During the day they stay in their dens and make their nests in hollows of logs of wood, burrows or areas that have dense vegetation. It usually stays in a permanent place throughout its life if possible.
Fact 3 Description
The Kiwi looks more like mammals. It cannot fly and so the feathers resemble hairs. It has a long bill and at the end there is a nostril. The feathers are shaggy, warm and hang loose. They are quite fluffy unlike other birds and the texture is suitable for terrestrial lifestyle. It is a nocturnal bird and hunts for food with the help of their long beaks. It is omnivorous but do not feed on large animals. It uses its nostrils to sniff and bring out invertebrates from the ground and also fruits that may have fallen from trees. Its shrill calls ring the entire forest two hours after dark and before dawn especially on moonless nights.
Fact 4 The Feathers Are Perfect Camouflage
The Kiwi is a harmless bird but has many enemies. Although it cannot fly, the feathers act as great camouflage. The color and rough natural looks of the feathers allows it to hide itself among bracken and tussock and quickly disappear in the dark. The special patterns of the feathers keep them safe mostly from flying predators like goshawk (now extinct).
Fact 5 Breeding
An adult Kiwi often has a single mate for life. The female is bigger than the male and lays huge eggs. The egg is in ratio to the weight of the body. After laying the eggs, it is for the male kiwi of some species to take care of incubation and this is done mostly during the months from June to December. The chicks are born after 70 to 85 days and have full feathers. The babies come out after day 5 to find food for themselves. They are not fed by either of their parents. It takes about 3 to 5 years for the babies to grow into adults. Kiwis have a long life and according to species some live for about 25 to 50 years.
Fact 6 Uniqueness Of The Kiwi
The Kiwi has a keen sense of smell and touch but poor eyesight. The brain is especially structured that enables it to locate food even under leaves and the earth. It has excellent memory for which it retains many incidents even after 5 years. If the Kiwi is fooled by an imitating Kiwi call, soon it realizes the truth and never makes the same mistake again later. Kiwi calls are special for it is intended to reach out to its mate and establish a territory.
The people of New Zealand adore the Kiwi and it has cultural importance to them. It is a National Icon of New Zealand and is valued as a national heritage. There are various enemies of the Kiwi like dogs, cats and ferrets. It is really very important to protect this amazing bird.