Kiwi Bird Facts

Kiwi, are flightless birds endemic to New Zealand of the genus Apteryx and family Apterygidae

In this section you are going to know some awesome Kiwi bird facts. As far as the Kiwi bird is concerned, you know it is a running bird, which mean it cannot fly. It has hair-like feathers with no tail and strong legs.  New Zealand is the native country of Kiwi bird.

During the First World War New Zealanders were given the name ‘Kiwis’ since the nickname was bestowed by Australian soldiers. It is estimated that currently there are only 68,000 Kiwi left. New Zealand is losing 2 percent of its unmanaged Kiwi bird every year, which is around 20 per week.

Is the Kiwi bird becoming extinct?

The Kiwi bird is not an extinct species but it is facing three major threats: loss of habitat, predators, and fragmented Kiwi populations. Before 100 million years New Zealand was entirely covered with forests and woods and Kiwi bird flourished with ease here.  Due to increase in population New Zealand has only 25 percent of its forest cover remaining.

It means the bird has less resources, space to live and food to survive on. Around 80 years ago its population comprised 5 million birds and now has fallen to around 50 to 60 thousand birds. The attack of predators and habitat loss are its major threats and Kiwi is now becoming an endangered species.

10 Fun Facts about Kiwi bird

Kiwi are flightless, nocturnal, pear-shaped birds found only in New Zealand. This bird has longed-lived reaching up to 50 years old in the wild. The bird has five specie, the largest is brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) at about 20-25 inches and weighing 3-10 pounds while the smallest is the little spotted Kiwi (Apteryx owenii) which is approximately 14-18 inches and weighs 2-4 pounds. Following are the 10 fun facts about Kiwi birds described here.

  1. The bird has excellent hearing

Kiwi has so developed ears that they can easily be seen through their head feathers.

  • Kiwi don’t have hollow bones

Most of the birds have hollow birds to reduce the weight for flight, but the Kiwi’s bones like other mammals have marrow.

  • Powerful legs

Kiwi lack tail, but have strong and powerful muscular legs that make up nearly a third of their body weight.

  • Hair-like feathers

Kiwi plumage has very soft, long feathers that much look like the fur of a mammal rather than the feathers of a bird.

  • Incubation

In some species of Kiwi, the males like other birds such as pigeons and ostrich, take much responsibility for egg incubation, but in other species, both parents help out.

  • Kiwi lay the largest egg in relation to their body size of any bird

The size of kiwi’s egg is six times the size of chicken’s egg. Female kiwi lay only one egg per season.

  • They are named after the sound they produce

Kiwi produces a sharp shrieky half-scream and half-whistle call that sounds like “Kee-Wee”, “Kee-Wee”. This sound helps to find the opposite sex at night when they are active. They can also snort, grunt, snuffle and hiss.

The New Zealand national bird the kiwi. This bird is named sparky and is missing one of it legs.
  • Kiwi can only walk and run

Kiwi’s wings are vestigial and so small about 1 inch long. Its wings are nonfunctional. Kiwi, like other running birds  lack a special ridge on its sternum called keel. In flying birds, the flight muscles are attached to keel.

  • Kiwi dig burrow rather than building nests

The Kiwi build its home in burrow in the soil, which it digs out with its powerful toes and claws. When a Kiwi becomes an adult, it finds a territory and spends the rest of its life there.

  1. Kiwi are the only birds that have nostrils at the tip of their beaks

Kiwi is the only bird in the world that has external nostrils at the tip of its beak. Their nostrils are their keen sense of smell for hunting.

How fast can kiwi run

As you know that kiwis can’t fly and include running birds. It can run on the surface of ground at speeds of up to 12 miles per hour. This bird is medium size that roams the New Zealand forests. Kiwi has long lifespans and small wings. Kiwi, Ostrich Emu, etc. lack flat breastbones the keel that anchors the powerful muscles needed for flight. Their small wings cannot lift their heavy weight off the ground.

North Island Brown Kiwi Chick (Apteryx mantelli), being released into a man-made burrow on Motuora Island, Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. Nikon D80

All are Kiwi blind?

Kiwi don’t see so much things, yet it has a strong sense of smell and sensitive whiskers. In a nocturnal environment it is only able to coarsely resolves objects within its visual field. Another feature of Kiwi is that its chick is produced with feathers, unlike other birds’ chicks.

What is the Kiwi bird’s favorite food?

Basically Kiwi bird is omnivorous. Most of Kiwi bird’s food is consist of invertebrates. Its favourite food is worms which grow more than 0.5 meters. The good thing for the Kiwi birds is that New Zealand is rich in worms with nearly 180 native and 14 exotic species to choose from.

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