The Kiwi - Nga Manu Nature Reserve

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Transcript The Kiwi - Nga Manu Nature Reserve

New Zealand’s National Bird
Presentation by Maggie Drews
Why is the Kiwi so important?
• Kiwi are a one-of-a-kind species only found in
New Zealand
• When kiwi populations are healthy we know that
the ecosystem as a whole is healthy as well
• The kiwi is an indicator
species. The abundance of kiwi
reflects the health of the
environment. The presence of
kiwi indicates the presence of
other species within the
Where do Kiwi Live?
Kiwi Habitat
• Habitat: The environment where a species is
naturally found
• The kiwi is a
flightless bird
that lives on the
forest floor.
Kiwi are only
found in New
What does the Kiwi do?
The Niche of the Kiwi
• Niche: the role of an organism within its
habitat or ecological community
• The niche of the kiwi is
to feed nocturnally (at
night) on bugs, worms,
and grubs from the
forest floor
• Kiwi are unique because the niche they
occupy isn’t typical of a bird, it’s typical of
a mammal!
Kiwi adaptations:
What is an adaptation?
• Kiwi must have
special behaviours
and functions in order
to survive. The kiwi
has made adjustments
over a long period of
time to increase its’
chance of survival in
the conditions of its’
Kiwi Adaptations:
Why is the Kiwi called an
“Honorary Mammal?”
The kiwi has the
second best sense of
smell of all birds! It
can locate food up to
3 cm underground!
• Kiwi use their strong
sense of smell to find
food, which is
uncommon among
birds but common
among mammals.
Here you see the
external nostrils at
the end of the long
Kiwi Adaptations:
Why is the Kiwi called an
“Honorary Mammal?”
Kiwi have:
• Loose fluffy feathers like fur…
• Cat-like whiskers for touching and
sensing in the dark and a good sense
of sound…
• Thick, solid, heavyweight
bones and fleshy footpads for
stomping & digging around
the forest floor
Kiwi legs are 30%
of its bodyweight!
More Kiwi Adaptations
• Kiwi are well adapted for nocturnal life!
• Dark coloration makes
kiwi hard to find at night
• Kiwi have poor sense of
sight since it isn’t
needed at night
• Their noisy grunts and
snorts are characteristic
Of all birds in the
of mammals
world, the kiwi is
• The kiwi is a bird without
a tail and has tiny nonmost similar to a
functional wings
How did the Kiwi come to
New Zealand?
• New Zealand was once part
of a huge continent called
Gondwanaland along with
South America, Africa,
Australia, India, and
• Gondwanaland broke apart about 80 million years ago.
As a result, species were no longer able to travel around
the whole continent but were trapped on their newly
formed continent. There are different theories of how
kiwi ended up in New Zealand
How did the Kiwi come to
New Zealand?
• One possibility is that the kiwi could fly, but upon
entering New Zealand, lost its ability to fly as an
adaptation to life on the forest floor since, at that
time, New Zealand had no mammals to prey
upon the kiwi
• The kiwi has a tiny
featherless stub of a wing
with a talon at the joint.
This is evidence that the
kiwi once could have had
functional wings
How did the Kiwi come to
New Zealand?
• Because of natural
• Another possibility is
barriers such as
that the kiwi has always
mountain ranges and
been flightless and has
water masses,
spread by foot
different kiwi
populations have
separately, therefore
creating different
species of kiwi
The Kiwi Family
• The kiwi is the smallest
member of the
flightless “ratite”
family. Its’ closest
relatives are the ostrich,
emu, rhea, cassowary,
and extinct moa
• It is likely that 30 million years ago there was only
one species of kiwi. Because of the changing
landscape, the kiwi has separated into different
populations which have evolved independently.
The result is 5 distinct species of kiwi, with
different varieties within a few of the species!
The Kiwi Family: 5 Species
• The most common Kiwi is
the Brown Kiwi, found on
the North Island
• Rowi
• Tokoeka, which has 4
varieties: Haast, Northern
Fiordland, Southern, and
Stewart Island
• Little Spotted Kiwi
• Great Spotted Kiwi
Map appropriated from:
Life of the Kiwi:
• The peak breeding
season is June-March
• Males reach sexual
maturity at 18 months
old, while females
reach sexual maturity
at 3-5 years old
Most kiwi couples are
remaining together
for life!
• Kiwi attract mates with
grunting noises
• In captivity males have
been observed jumping,
kicking and rolling
“head over heels”
• Males are territorial
and have been observed
fighting over females
Life of the Kiwi:
• Male kiwi construct
the burrow and nest
• One egg is laid
3 weeks after
mating occurs
• The male is mainly
responsible for
incubation, lasting
up to 85 days
• The week before laying
her egg, the female eats
three times more than
usual and two days
before laying she fasts
• Reproductive and
mating behaviours vary
between kiwi species
Kiwi eggs weigh up to 20% of the females’
bodyweight. The largest ratio in the world!
Life of the Kiwi:
Young chicks
• The egg hatches when the chick forces its way out
with its strong legs
• Newly hatched
chicks feed off the
egg yolk
• The chick can stand
up after about
3 days
Young kiwi are fully
• The chick leaves the
independent when they
burrow after 5 days
hatch. They don’t get any
to start feeding on
help from their parents!
their own
Life of the Kiwi:
Kiwi Chicks
• Young kiwi are
vulnerable to
predators. In
the wild, 90%
die in their first
6 months, the
majority of
deaths due to cat
and stoat attacks
Kiwi can live up to 40
years! Sadly, only 5%
survive to adulthood
Kiwi Killers:
Threats to Kiwi
• Kiwi populations are in
decline mainly due to
predation and
habitat loss
• Stoats
and pigs
are kiwi
• Dogs and cats are a
severe danger to kiwi
• In 1987 a single
German Shepherd
killed almost 1,000
kiwi in Waitangi State
Forest. In only 6
weeks the wild dog
killed off half of the
forests’ kiwi
Kiwi Killers:
Threats to Kiwi
• People are a threat • Kiwi are killed by careless
to kiwi!
driving. Pictured below is
Landowners need to
a kiwi who was hit by a car
take notice of kiwi
in a posted kiwi zone.
habitat and avoid
certain practices
like burning and
timber harvesting,
which destroys kiwi
Kiwi Population:
Facing Extinction
• The healthiest kiwi
populations are on
predator-free islands
Today’s kiwi population is
only 0.5% of the original
• Haast Tokoeka (pictured left) and
Rowi Kiwi (below) are classified
as “Nationally Critical.” There are
300 or fewer of each species
remaining. New Zealand DoC is
closely monitoring the populations
and working with breeding and
predator control
Kiwi Population:
Facing Extinction
• Little Spotted Kiwi
(pictured on right) are
classified as “Range
Restricted.” There are
1,500 left. The majority
• There are only 5,000
of the population lives
Southern Fiordland
on predator-free Kapiti
Tokoeka, being classified
Island. Numbers are
as “Nationally
increasing and kiwi are
Vulnerable.” Populations
being transferred to
are declining
other locations
Kiwi Population:
Facing Extinction
• Brown Kiwi (right) are
classified as “Serious
Decline.” There are 25,000
Brown Kiwi birds left.
Populations are projected to
decline by 50% in 15 years
• Great Spotted Kiwi (left)
population is approx 17,000.
Listing is “Gradual
Decline.” They are
predicted to decrease by
50% in 35 years
Kiwi Population:
Facing Extinction
Kiwi are disappearing at a rate of 6% per
year! Kiwi could be extinct in 20 years!
• Also listed as “Gradual
Decline” is Northern
Fiordland. There are 10,000
birds. Also expected to
decline 50% in 35 years
• There are 20,000 Stewart Island
Tokoeka Kiwi. If Stewart Island
remains predator-controlled
numbers will stablilise. Classified
as “Range Restricted”
Kiwi at Nga Manu
• Nga Manu has 2 North Island Brown Kiwi,
located in our nocturnal house
• Koro (green band, below)
was born in November of
2005 and we received her
when she was one year old
• Kowhai (blue band,
above), born in March
2005. He was received
in November 2006
How can I help save Kiwi?
• Keep your dog on a
leash when out in
the forest
• Do not let dogs or
cats roam freely
• Never abandon
dogs or cats in the
• Spey and neuter
pets to control
predator population
This kiwi was
killed by a dog. Be
a responsible pet
owner and save
How can I help save Kiwi?
• Drive carefully, don’t
turn kiwi into roadkill
What’s a Kiwi Call
sound like?
• Use kiwi safe
trapping methods
when trapping pests
• Report kiwi
“Creeeeeee creeeeeee”
“The call of the male
kiwi is a repetitive
high-pitched whistle –
8 - 25 notes. The call of
the female kiwi is a
repetitive coarse
rasping note – 10 - 20
More ways you can help Kiwi
• Volunteer! Check
• Educate yourself!
in with the New
The more you
know, the more
Department of
you can help.
Conservation and
Pass your
other organisations
for opportunities
along to others!
• Donations are always necessary to your favourite
kiwi organisation
• Vote for conservation!
• Remember! By helping kiwi, you’ll help other
species too!
More Information on Kiwi
I found these resources helpful. Please visit them for
more information on kiwi, as they are continuously
updated. You’ll also find volunteer opportunities on
some of these websites.
Works Cited
• Bishop, Nic. Natural History of New Zealand.
Auckland, NZ 1992.
• Lockyer, John. Nature Kids: The Kiwi. Reed
Publishing: Auckland, NZ 2000