The kiwi is a one-of-a-kind, chicken-sized bird which lives only in New Zealand. Because they are flightless, kiwis can live underground in burrows which stretch up to several yards (meters) long.
These burrows are made with their eight clawed toes, four on each foot. They only come up at night when they forage for earthworms, beetles, spiders, berries, and other tasty (to them) morsels.
The kiwi genus is comprised of five species:
- northern island brown kiwi
- great spotted kiwi
- okarito spotted kiwi
- southern tokoeka
- little spotted kiwi
All of these live in different places in New Zealand. The great spotted kiwi is different from the others in that is has dens instead of burrows. Here’s one very unusual feature about the kiwi. It is the only bird in the world that has external nostrils. These are placed on the tip of its beak and give it a highly sensitive sense of smell which it uses to find its food. Kiwis are also different in another aspect. They are monogamous, having the same mate for their whole life of over ten years. After their long breeding season, the females lay from one to three eggs. These eggs are the largest, in proportion to the adult’s body weight, of any other bird’s eggs. They can weigh up to one pound (.45 kg) or one quarter of the adult’s body weight. Once the eggs are laid, the male, instead of the female, sits on them for up to seventy five days until they hatch. Since they don’t need to learn to fly, the young are independent within 20 days.
Don’t forget to check out activity the sheet under the sources.
Here’s the picture of next week’s animal.
- Complete Birds of the World. Tim Harris, National Geographic, ISBN: 978‑1‑4262‑0419‑7
- http://www.arkive.org/great-spotted-kiwi/apteryx-haastii/image-G23026.html accessed 9-21-13
- http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/319768/kiwi accessed 9-21-13
- http://www.worldbookonline.com/pl/infofinder/article?id=ar302160&st=kiwi (account required) accessed 9-21-13
- coloring/activity sheet
Kiwi – Wikipedia user:Glen Fergus
Kiwi range – public domain
Mystery animal – public domain