Great Spotted Kiwi

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Common Name: Great Spotted Kiwi
Māori Name: Roroa
Scientific Name: Apteryx haastii

Size: 19.6-23.6 inches (50-60 cm); Bill Length: 3.5-3.9 inches (9-10 cm) in the male, 4.9-5.3 inches (12.5-13.5 cm) in the female.

Habitat: Oceania; endemic to New Zealand. Found in the Northwest of South Island, mainly West of the main divide. It has also been introduced to Little Barrier Island, off Northwestern North Island.

This kiwi is found in a variety of habitats including tussock grasslands, damp, mossy southern beech (Nothofagus) forests, dry, alluvial podocarps, hardwood forests, and scrub-covered coastal pastures.

Status: Vulnerable. Global population: 5,300-5,500 adult individuals with a declining trend of 2.5-5.8% per year. Apparently, this species has always been confined to the South Island, but its range has contracted, becoming considerably fragmented, with the species disappearing from several areas, since the period of European settlement. Before settlers arrived, about 12 million great spotted kiwis lived in New Zealand. In 1996 the population was estimated to be 22,000.

The early losses were probably due to the use of poisons and traps for other animals and to the introduction of mammalian predators. Introduced predators, chiefly domesticated cats and dogs, but also pigs, mustelids and brush-tailed possum remain the greatest threats. Chick survival is very low, with the great majority of chicks (94%) not surviving to maturity due to introduced predators. Survival is far better in very wet highland areas of its range, where predators are more scarce. One small population in the east part of the Southern Alps is managed intensively through active control of predators. Survival is far better in the very wet highland area of its range, where predators are more scarce. The monitoring of this species is intensive and nationally coordinated. One small population in the east part of the Southern Alps is managed intensively through active control of predators. This is the only kiwi species confined to the mainland, with no secure populations on islands. A small-scale translocation experiment to Rotoiti Island in Nelson Lakes National Park began in 2004.

Diet: Mostly invertebrates, especially beetle larvae and earthworms. In summer there are also large crickets and spiders. Snails (including giant land-snails of genus Paryphanta) are also recorded in their diet, as are freshwater crayfish, which are taken when they leave flooded streams. Fallen fruit and leaves may also be eaten.

Foraging is nocturnal and often in pairs. They search for food by probing in soil and natural hollows, including rotten logs and grass tussocks. They use their bills to pierce snail shells. They are able to reach items up to 3 feet (1 m) above ground by walking along trees leaning out from hillsides.

Nesting: Sexes are similar in plumage, however the female is larger and longer-billed than the male. It is a flightless nocturnal bird with rotund appearance. It lacks a visible tail and has a very long, straight-looking bill and short, thick legs. The plumage appears hair-like. The head is dark blackish-gray, becoming paler in the neck area. There is a small patch of darker color below each eye and long black bristles around the base of the bill. The hind neck and upper-parts are yellow-gray with the back tinged chestnut. There is irregularly barred brownish-black markings throughout the torso. The chest is light gray with darker barring and the lower belly is paler and tinged buffish. Some individuals are mottled gray all over, while others are more ginger in color. The iris is blackish-brown and the bill is pale horn to pink-cream colored. Sometimes the upper mandible is gray. The legs are brown with darker scutes (bony plates over the toes) and paler skin between them. The claws are off-white with variable dark pigmentation. This species differs from [Little Spotted Kiwi]|A. owenii by its’ larger size, grayer appearance, and more regular plumage pattern with larger black spots. The juvenile is similar to adult, but with smaller, softer feathers. There is no real ‘downy stage’ in this species. The claws in juveniles are black.

Kiwis are monogamous, although females in lowland sites can sometimes be polyandrous. Breeding season occurs from July through November. The nest is built in a natural hollow, sometimes under vegetation, or in a short burrow at least 20 inches (50 cm) deep, that is dug by the birds themselves. The nest is lined at its end with a thick layer of plant material. Great spotted kiwis are distinguishable from other kiwi species by the fact that they can only produce one egg a year, as it takes so much energy to produce the massive egg. The coloring is white with pale bluish or greenish tinge. Unlike other species of kiwi, incubation is performed by both sexes with the female taking nest duties at night. Kiwis hatch fully feathered and leave the nest unaccompanied at 1 week of age. This kiwi has the average life expectancy of 15 years.

Cool Facts: Kiwis have a good sense of smell which is unusual in most species of bird.

They reside in complex, maze-like burrows that they construct. Up to fifty burrows can exist in one bird's territory. They will often move around, staying in a different burrow every day. Bird's Nest Fungus (a fungi that resembles small bird eggs and feeds on organic matter) sometimes grows in these burrows.

Found in Songbird ReMix Kiwis

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