Kiwi is an amazing flightless bird that belongs to the genus Apteryx and is endemic to New Zealand. This beautiful bird is grayish-brown in color and possesses the size of a domestic chicken. It is the smallest of all the living ratites, a group of flightless birds that includes rheas, ostriches, emu and the extinct New Zealand moa, in the world. It is a curious bird, with loose, coarse, bristly, hair-like feathers and long whiskers. Kiwi is the sole survivor of an ancient order of birds including the now extinct moas. About the size of a domestic fowl, it has the vestigial wings hidden within the plumage. Female kiwis are larger than the males. Read on to know some more interesting facts and amazing information about this curious bird.
Facts About Kiwi
Order: Struthioniformes (or Apterygiformes)
Species: Apteryx haastii, Apteryx owenii, Apteryx owenii, Apteryx australis and Apteryx mantelli
Height: 50 cm
Weight: 800 g to 1 kg
Lifespan: Upto 40 years
Diet: Worms, spiders, bugs, grubs and fruit, freshwater crayfish, frogs and eels
Range: New Zealand
Habitat: Sea level to alpine environments, in scrubland, farmland, swamps, pine forest and vegetated gullies.
Age of Sexual Maturity: 18 months (males); 3 years (females)
Gestation Period: 80 days
Number of Offspring: 1
Interesting & Amazing Information On Kiwi Bird
- Kiwi's name comes from the Polynesian name for the Bristled-thighed Curlew, the Kivi. This bird feeds in the same way as the kiwi, by poking its long beak into soft ground.
- Kiwi is one of the world’s oddest endangered birds and is closest to a mammal in the bird world.
- It is the only known bird to have external nostrils at the end of its bill and one of the few to have a highly developed sense of smell.
- Kiwis are unique in that they have no tail, their feathers are soft and hair-like, the legs are stout and muscular and each of the four toes has a large claw.
- These remarkable nocturnal birds are the national symbol of the country of New Zealand.
- There are five kiwi species: North Island Brown Kiwi, Great Spotted Kiwi, Lesser Spotted Kiwi, Rowi, and Tokoeka.
- Kiwis have small eyes that are inefficient in full sunlight. The ear openings are large and well developed, with very long bristles (perhaps tactile) at the base of the bill.
- They have very strong legs, which help them in burrowing and ripping apart rotten logs.
- A female kiwi is larger than the male. In some species, male kiwi is the one who sits on the egg. Kiwi eggs take up to 30 days to hatch.
- Kiwis live in pairs and mate for life. In fact, some of them have been together for as many as 30 years.
- At night, a kiwi can often be heard making snuffling noises, which is caused by the bird trying to clear dirt out of its nostrils, when it is searching for food.
- It has an average body temperature of 38 degrees C, which is 2 degrees lower than other birds and two degrees higher than humans.
- A kiwi is extremely territorial in nature and will protect its ’patch’ (as much as 40 hectares) by calling or chasing the intruder and will fight using its razor-sharp claws.
- The egg of a kiwi is quite large, as compared with the size of its body and averages 20% of the female weight.
- The kiwi symbol began to be recognized internationally in 1906, when Kiwi Shoe Polish was launched in Melbourne, by a man who had a New Zealand-born wife.
- Overseas (and at home), New Zealanders are still called “Kiwis”. Kiwi is still closely associated with New Zealand Armed Forces and even New Zealand dollar has a kiwi
- A fruit native to China, which was commercially cultivated in New Zealand for international trade, is known throughout the world as kiwi fruit.
- Kiwi also features in the coat of arms, crests and badges of many New Zealand cities, clubs and organizations.The national rugby league football team is known as ‘Kiwis’.