Kiwi (Apteryx) | Characteristics, Habitats & Amazing Facts

Name – Kiwi

Scientific Name : Apteryx

Type : Birds 

Age : 25 and 50 years

Diet : Omnivore

Physical Characteristics:

Length : 35 to 45 cm

Weight : 0.8 to 1.9 kg

Colour : grey-brown plumage with lighter bands 

Skin Type : Feathers

Wingspan : 1 inch per wing

Current Population : 68000

Current Population Trend : Decreasing 

Native : New Zealand 


Main Prey : Worms, Spiders, Insects, Fruit

Habitat : Forests and dense woodland

Predators : Foxes, Dogs, Cats

Favourite Food : Worms

Amazing Facts

·         A WEEK, predators kill an average of 27 kiwi. That equates to a population loss of approximately 1,400 kiwis per year (or 2 percent). At this point, kiwi will become extinct on the mainland within our lifetime. About a century ago, kiwi numbered in the millions.

·         Apteryx, which means “wingless,” is the Latin genus name for kiwi. They are part of the ratites, an ancient group of flightless creatures.

·         Since the habits and physical features of the kiwi are so similar to those of mammals, the bird is often referred to as an official mammal. It has hair-like feathers, nostrils at the tip of its beak, and a massive egg.

·         The vestigial wings are concealed within the plumage; the nostrils are at the tip (rather than the base) of the long, flexible bill; the feathers, which lack aftershafts, are smooth and hairlike; the legs are stout and muscular; and each of the four toes has a broad claw.

·         In full sunlight, the eyes are narrow and inefficient, the ear openings are wide and well built, and very long bristles (possibly tactile) appear at the base of the bill.

·         While they sometimes fly with other members of their genus, the kiwi is a strongly aggressive bird that keeps a firm hold on its territory and does not tolerate trespassers easily. If another bird does not heed its alarm tone, it will return to attacking with its feet.

·         The kiwis have a special mating rite every year between March and June. Since calling out to each other, the couple meets in the nesting burrow every three days, and males emit a distinct purring sound when copulating. The kiwi breeds in near mating pairs that normally marry for life before a more attractive partner appears.

·         The chicks are completely autonomous and feathered as they emerge from the egg by knocking off the shell. Since the parents play only a small role in feeding their young, the chicks must survive their first 10 days by feeding on the yolk sac. To compete with the moist underground burrows, the eggs are also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.

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