Kiwi, the smallest member of the flightless bird clan is endemic to New Zealand. Being the smallest member of the ratite family, it is about the size of the chicken. The absence of tail makes them unique as you can see in kiwi pictures. They mainly reside in burrows.
What Earned Them The Name Kiwi?
The kiwi symbol got international recognition in 1906 when a British native got married to a New Zealand born girl. Afterwards, kiwi flightless bird was extensively publicized in British and American media, which made them familiar to the entire world. Ever since then, they have been at the heart of various political and sports campaigns.
Kiwi; The National Bird Of New Zealand
It is one of the most important Kiwi facts that it is the national symbol of New Zealand. Today, New Zealanders overseas and at home are often called "Kiwis". Kiwis also enjoy a close relationship with New Zealand's armed forces. The New Zealand's dollar is often referred to as "Kiwi". Kiwi is also used as an emblem by various clubs and organizations in New Zealand.
The smallest flightless bird is peculiar in its outlook with an adult kiwi being the size of a domestic chicken. The nostrils at the end of their beaks give them clear distinction over other birds. The bird is known to be the smallest member of the ratite family, a group of flightless birds that includes ostrich and penguins as well. They have claw like feet that are adapted for digging food. Kiwis are about 18 inches tall when fully grown and weigh about 7 pounds. Female members are usually larger than the male ones.
The natural kiwi habitat stretches across New Zealand. New Zealand is home to a large number of Kiwis due to its isolated environment. They are least vulnerable to any external threats from the predators and do not require much adapting. Their flightless feature also restricts them to their native land.
Kiwis diet mainly consists of insects and consume a variety of food including small invertebrates, grubs, insects, spiders, freshwater crayfish, seeds and various types of warms. Their shrewd sense of smell enables them to locate food.
Kiwis are very shy birds and they move with an enhanced pace when they smell danger. They are nocturnal i.e. they remain dormant during the day and become active at night. They are capable of producing a very shrill sound that helps them to protect territory, avoid danger and call their mates.
Various species of kiwi birds
There are five important species of kiwi birds, which include the Great Spotted Kiwi Roroa, the Little Spotted Kiwi, Okarito Brown Kiwi, Tokoeka and the North Island Brown Kiwi.
Kiwi Bird conversation
A sudden increase in the island's population has posed a serious threat to the kiwis. It has negatively contributed in influencing their habitat, hence making their survival hard. Another reason that contributes to the declining population of kiwis is the predator dog. WWF needs to pay considerable heed to conserve kiwis, which lie at the verge of extinction.