About the Kiwi

About Kiwi

Kiwi Information

Taranaki is the home of the North Island Brown Kiwi and they can be found on Mt Taranaki and in forested areas of North, South & East Taranaki.

Kiwi are nocturnal but occasionally they may be active during the day.

If you are out in the bush during the day you may be able to find some signs of kiwi. These include;

  • probe holes
  • footprints
  • feathers
  • droppings
  • burrows

Kiwi Footprints

Signs of Kiwi Tracks in the snow

Kiwi Feather

Kiwi Feather

Kiwi Probe Hole

Signs of Kiwi Probe hole

What makes kiwi unique?

Kiwi Chick claws
Kiwi Wing
  • A small wing with a tiny hook at the end
  • Small eyes, ears and whiskers like a cat
  • Nostrils at the tip of the bill, good for probing food
  • Very strong legs and sharp claws, great for building burrows and running fast
  • Females are between 2.2kg and 2.8kg, males are between 1.8kg and 2.3kg
  • Kiwi grow very slowly
  • Males – breeding age approximately 18 months old, females 2+ years

Kiwi Breeding

Kiwi eggs being transported
Kiwi hatching
  • North Island brown kiwi start breeding at 18 months (males) and 2+ years (female)
  • Breeding season – August to April
  • In Taranaki they often lay two eggs per clutch, and up to two clutches per season
  • A kiwi egg can be up to 20% of the females body weight
  • The male incubates the eggs for 65-85 days
  • A chick takes 3-4 days to hatch and emerges fully feathered, a miniature adult

Kiwi Threats

Kiwi Bird Sign
  • Habitat loss
  • Predators, including ferrets, stoats, cats and dogs
  • In areas with no predator control Less than 5% of chicks survive to 6 months of age
  • Stoats are a major problem for chicks. The stealthy stoat is responsible for killing about 90% of chicks in unmanaged areas and the tell-tale wounds on the neck or head
  • Ferrets are able to kill adult kiwi as well as chicks and anecdotal evidence suggests their numbers may be on the rise.
  • Feral cats/wild cats are active hunters at day and night and it is very hard to detect numbers as they are quick to hide. They have a large range in which they cover with males known to range over 20 km.
  • Any type of dog is a risk. The scent of kiwi is irresistible to dogs, which makes them easy to track and find.

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What makes kiwi unique?

Kiwi Chick claws
Kiwi Wing
  • A small wing with a tiny hook at the end
  • Small eyes, ears and whiskers like a cat
  • Nostrils at the tip of the bill, good for probing food
  • Very strong legs and sharp claws, great for building burrows and running fast
  • Females are between 2.2kg and 2.8kg, males are between 1.8kg and 2.3kg
  • Kiwi grow very slowly
  • Males – breeding age approximately 18 months old, females 2+ years

Kiwi Breeding

Kiwi eggs being transported
Kiwi hatching
  • North Island brown kiwi start breeding at 18 months (males) and 2+ years (female)
  • Breeding season – August to April
  • In Taranaki they often lay two eggs per clutch, and up to two clutches per season
  • A kiwi egg can be up to 20% of the females body weight
  • The male incubates the eggs for 65-85 days
  • A chick takes 3-4 days to hatch and emerges fully feathered, a miniature adult

Kiwi Threats

Kiwi Bird Sign
  • Habitat loss
  • Predators, including ferrets, stoats, cats and dogs
  • In areas with no predator control Less than 5% of chicks survive to 6 months of age
  • Stoats are a major problem for chicks. The stealthy stoat is responsible for killing about 90% of chicks in unmanaged areas and the tell-tale wounds on the neck or head
  • Ferrets are able to kill adult kiwi as well as chicks and anecdotal evidence suggests their numbers may be on the rise.
  • Feral cats/wild cats are active hunters at day and night and it is very hard to detect numbers as they are quick to hide. They have a large range in which they cover with males known to range over 20 km.
  • Any type of dog is a risk. The scent of kiwi is irresistible to dogs, which makes them easy to track and find.
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