Meg A. Feather and The Forest Games


About Kiwis


Kiwi facts


Kiwis cannot fly, they burrow in the ground and are largely nocturnal.

Kiwis have one of the largest egg-to-body weight ratios of any bird. The mature egg averages 20% of the female's body weight (compared to 2% for an ostrich). Eggs take up to 80 days to hatch.

The female is bigger than the male. In the North Island , the male brown kiwi does most of the egg incubating.

The kiwi is the only bird to have external nostrils at the end of its bill and one of the few to have a highly developed sense of smell. A kiwi literally sniffs out its food. It uses its bill also to smell danger.

Kiwi has loose, hair-like feathers and long whiskers.

Kiwis live in pairs and mate for life (sometimes as long as 30 years).

Kiwis eat mostly earthworms, spiders, forest invertebrates and fallen fruit but have been known to eat freshwater crayfish, frogs and eels.

Kiwis are extremely territorial and will fight to protect their territory (as much as 40 hectares) by calling or chasing the intruder and will fight using its razor-sharp claws



Photo courtesy of Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre Inc.




The kiwi is the smallest living member of the ratite family (Apterygidae), a group of flightless birds which includes the rheas of South America, the ostrich of Africa, emus of Australia and the extinct moa of New Zealand . There are six different species of kiwi, The Little Spotted Kiwi, Great Spotted Kiwi, Brown Kiwi, Okarito, Haast Tokoeka and the Southern Tokoeka . New Zealand 's isolation and lack of mammals allowed the kiwi to occupy a habitat and lifestyle that elsewhere would be occupied by mammals. The kiwi is a unique bird and has become an icon for the New Zealand 'spirit' and an emblem of national identity.

There are six identified species of kiwi (genus Apteryx). The Little Spotted Kiwi is extinct on the mainland and survives as 1,000 birds on Kapiti Island and 100 (by transfer) on four smaller islands. The Great Spotted Kiwi is found only in the South Island (10-20,000 birds). Brown Kiwi is still widespread in the central and northern North Island . The Okarito kiwi is a distinct sub species of only 125 birds. It lives in lowland forest just north of Franz Josef. Haast Tokoeka is found in the rugged mountains behind Haast. They spend their summers in the high sub-alpine tussock grasslands but probably retreat to the lowland forest in winter. The Southern Tokoeka lives in Fiord land and on Stewart Island where they can sometimes be seen feeding during the day. It is much more communal than its northern cousins.

The natural habitat of the Kiwi is in serious jeopardy. Kiwi can live in a variety of habitats and were once found from sea level to alpine environments, in scrubland, farmland, swamps, pine forest and vegetated gullies. Today they fight for survival threatened by the introduction of pests. Deforestation, farming, stoats, ferrets, feral cats, pigs and dogs are the greatest threats to the survival of kiwi. Young kiwi are the most vulnerable to predation, being only 200g when they leave the nest with no parental care, they are small, slow and an easy target for the first 12 months. Adult will stand up to predators or, with their large feet and long legs, run away amongst the dense undergrowth.

The Department of Conservation, in partnership with the Bank of New Zealand and the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, launched the Kiwi Recovery Programme in 1991. The programme is to ensure that kiwis are safeguarded from possible extinction on mainland New Zealand . It combines research and action and has three major goals: to maintain the genetic variety of species and sub-species; to increase the number of kiwi; and to increase the number of places they can live.



Meg A Feather and the Forest Games Published by Moving Canvas

Copyright @ Kaye Fox and Mike Banks 2007

ISBN 978-0-646-46965-2

All rights reserved, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publishers.

Fox, Kaye (Kaye Eliza).

Meg A. Feather and the Forest Games

For Primary school aged children.

1. Kiwis - juvenile fiction. 2. Intercession - juvenile fiction

I. Banks, Mike (Michael John) 1958 - , II. Title A823.4

Illustrations created using watercolour.

© banx 2005-2007

Printed at 3e Innovative

Site maintained by Banx


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