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Welcome to Predatory Thursday, and we are here to share the information about a popular bird in this section. Birds are recognized for their flying ability, but some do not fly. Among those, have you heard about a bird that belongs to the ancient group of birds that is believed to have arrived 60 million years ago? It’s none other than the Kiwi bird, which is the most lovable and the national bird of New Zealand. But it is sad to know that the kiwi population is under the threat and declining each year.

Facts about the kiwi bird

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Kiwi, also known as the flightless bird is a unique bird in the world because of its unusual characteristics and habits similar to mammals. It is greyish brown in color and has small wings at around 1 inch with a claw in the tip of each wing and it is hidden within the collective feathers. It has short, and muscular legs with a large claw on each toe but it has no tail.  Moreover, the feathers are soft like hair along with small eyes and large openings of the ear.  Its texture is based to live on the ground. 

There are five species of the kiwi Bird, and Roroa also known as great spotted kiwi is one of them which is identified to be the giant kiwi that stays in the harsh environment in the top half of the South Island.  Little spotted Kiwi is the smallest of all five species. Tokoeka is a species that is located in the ranges of Haast, in the west of the coast of the southern island.  Brown kiwi is the most common species located on North Island.  Rowi is the rarest and reduced as one natural population. The bird is considered an honorary mammal and recognized as omnivorous, which eats worms, spiders, insects, snails, centipedes, plants, and berries. 

Kiwi Birds sleep in the burrow for days, and they can run swiftly.  It uses its claws to defend and protect itself.  It has the ability to sense the prey moving underground and has a keen sense of smell.  They made their home in many different environments like snowy mountains, forests, farm grasslands, and even in the coastal sands.  They are known as breeding machines because of their production of large eggs.  It prepares its nest in its territory and pairs up with the opposite gender.  The female produces the huge egg and it is incubated by the male kiwi. 

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The DNA of kiwi Birds suggests that it is related to the Australian emu lineage and later migrated to New Zealand. It is scientifically known as Genus Apteryx.  According to the myth of Maori, who were the first people to live in New Zealand, it is believed that once the god of the forest was worried about trees eaten by the birds and the bugs.  To cure his worries the god of birds requested the birds to come down and live in the ground.  When each of them had excuses kiwi was the bird to sacrifice its wings and came to live in the ground.

And so it was awarded as the most loved bird and so was considered sacred and became the national bird of New Zealand.

Hundred years ago the population is numbered millions but now it is declining and 1400 kiwis are dying every year. In 2008 it is found that the population has decreased to 70,000 and currently there are only 68000 kiwis.  And Management of kiwi bird has found that 2% of the bird is declining each year. This is because of the predators, people, and habitats getting lost. It is killed by dogs and stoats, and 50% of eggs fail to hatch, 90% die within 6 months and only less than 7% reach adulthood. Therefore New Zealand is concerning about managing the population and it is said that now it is increasing and the population is coming back to be stable.  

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