Sweet as, Kiwi
Sweet as, Kiwi
There are about 68,000 kiwi left in all of New Zealand. We are losing 2% of our unmanaged kiwi every year –that's around 20 per week.Kiwi are mostly nocturnal. They are most commonly forest dwellers, making daytime dens and nests in burrows, hollow logs or under dense vegetation.Kiwi are the only bird to have nostrils at the end of their very long bill. Their nostrils are used to probe in the ground, sniffing out invertebrates to eat, along with some fallen fruit.They also have one of the largest egg-to-body weight ratios of any bird. The egg averages 15% of the female's body weight (compared to 2% for the ostrich).Females are larger than males (up to 3.3 kg and 45 cm). Kiwi are long-lived, and depending on the species live for between 25 and 50 years.
Kiwi are ratites. The closest relatives to kiwi today is the elephant bird from Madagascar. They are also related to emus and cassowaries of Australia, and the extinct moa of New Zealand.There are five species of kiwi. All are classified as Threatened or At Risk.
Brown kiwi live in the North Island. There are four distinct forms, including the Northland brown kiwi.
Great spotted kiwi/roroa
The giant among kiwi, this species lives only in the top half of the South Island.
Little spotted kiwi
The smallest and once the commonest kiwi is vulnerable to stoats at all stages of its life.
There is one natural population of about 450 rowi in Ōkarito forest and surrounds in South Westland
Tokoeka – literally meaning 'weka with a walking stick' (Ngai Tahu) - has three geographically and genetically distinct forms: Haast, Fiordland, and Rakiura (Stewart Island).
Threats to kiwi
The biggest threat to kiwi chicks is stoats, and to adult kiwi, dogs.
Introduced mammals can also have a wider impact on kiwi. Competition by rodents for similar food appears to result in delayed growth of kiwi chicks and therefore increased pressure on the overall population at some sites. Rats are fodder for stoats – when there are lots of rats, there are lots of stoats.
In areas where we do the work to control predators, kiwi numbers are increasing. On the Coromandel, for example, the kiwi population is doubling every decade thanks to intensive predator control.
Other threats include habitat modification/loss and motor vehicle strike, as well as the small population size and distribution of some species. New avian disease and parasites that may reach New Zealand present a further threat to kiwi populations.