Nature Watch is a website where you can share what you see in nature, meet other nature watchers, and learn about New Zealand animals, plants, and fungi.
We’re working with Nature Watch this Save Kiwi Month to encourage everyone to take part in a search for kiwi in their backyards – asking people to note down the locations where they see kiwi or signs of kiwi.
Now, being nocturnal, kiwi can be quite elusive but they do leave signs as to where they have been. Here are some further identifying features for the photos above.
The key with identifying these is to look out for only the three front toes. The kiwi’s fourth toe is high up at the back and doesn’t leave an imprint except in very deep mud, whereas the fourth toe is easily seen in footprints left by other birds such as pukeko, weka, chickens and pheasants.
Kiwi probe the ground for food with their long beak, leaving conical holes the size and shape of an old-fashioned ice cream cone. It is important to note that if there are cobwebs in a possible probe hole, it could be a tunnel web spider den!
Kiwi feathers have a downy appearance, with no barbs holding each segment together. Feathers are often seen in summer caught in hook grass along tracks.
Kiwi scat is quite difficult to tell apart from other birds and even the experts get fooled. Usually it is the white uric acid crystals in the poo that suggest it is from a kiwi.
To hear what kiwi sound like, and the different birds and animals that they can be confused with, have a listen to the links on our kiwi calls page.