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Kiwi Birds OF New Zealand

Apr 1, 2008
New Zealands most famous resident, and one that you will want to be sure to see during your next New Zealand vacation, is the Kiwi bird. Kiwis are indigenous to the area, and are also an endangered species, due mostly in part to its inability to defend itself against predators. There are three distinct species of Kiwi, identified by their coloring and bill curvature. The Kiwi also has the distinction of being the official bird of New Zealand, and an icon of the nation.

The largest Kiwi species is the Roroa, or Great Spotted Kiwi, is approximately 45 cm high and has a grayish brown plumage with lighter striations throughout. The female lays one egg per year, and both parents take turns incubating it. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 Roroas live in the mountainous Nelson region and the Southern Alps of New Zealand.

The smallest Kiwi is the Little Spotted Kiwi, approximately the size of a bantam rooster. These small birds are unable to defend themselves against predation by introduced animals such as stoats, pigs, and cats, and as a result have become an endangered species. The female lays one egg per year, which the male then incubates.

The Okarto Brown Kiwi, or Rowi, is a species that has been identified only recently, and is small, with a grey tinted plumage and white facial feathers. Unlike other Kiwi species, the femal lays as many as three eggs in three different nests each year, and both of the parents incubate them. These kiwis are found exclusively on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand.

There are several different varieties of sub species as well, including the Tokoekoa, the Stewart Island Tokoea, the Northern Fiordland Tokoea, the Southern Fiordland Tokoea, and the North Island brown Kiwi, to name a few.

Kiwis are usually nocturnal, which some scientists is due to their inability to fend off predators. They are the only brds with nostrils at the end of their beeks, and like other ratites, have no wng muscles, only vestigial wings. The closest relatves of the Kiwi are the Ostrich, Emu, and other members of the cassowarie family.

During your New Zealand vacation, take the time to appreciate this rare and beautiful bird in person, as well as many of the other unique animals that call New Zealand home. The beauty of nature has always been a timeless attraction for any and all visitors.
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