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Kiwis for kiwi - Kiwi facts & characteristics

Quick Kiwi Facts

An average of 27 kiwi are killed by predators EVERY WEEK. That’s a population decline of around 1,400 kiwi every year (or 2%). At this rate, kiwi may disappear from the mainland in our lifetime. Just one hundred years ago, kiwi numbered in the millions.

A single roaming dog can wipe out an entire kiwi population in a matter of days

In areas under where predators are controlled, 50-60% of chicks survive. When areas are not under management 95% of kiwi die before reaching breeding age.

Approximately 20% of the kiwi population is under management.

15% survival rate is needed for a kiwi population to sustain its numbers – more than that grows the population.

Proof of success – on the Coromandel, in the predator controlled area, the kiwi population is doubling every decade.

What’s so unusual?

Kiwi are flightless – their Latin species name is Apteryx, which means wingless. They belong to an ancient group of birds that can’t fly – the ratites. Because they can’t fly, how they arrived in New Zealand is not completely clear.

Kiwi habits and physical characteristics are so like a mammal the bird is sometimes referred to as an honorary mammal. It has feathers like hair, nostrils at the end of its beak and an enormous egg.

Most kiwi are nocturnal birds, like many of New Zealand’s native animals. Their calls pierce the forest air at dusk and dawn.

Kiwi are omnivores. Discover what foods they find with their unusual beak.

Even though kiwi are unusual enough, tall stories abound about the bird.

Find out more about kiwi