Little Spotted Kiwi

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Common Name: Little Spotted Kiwi
Māori Name: Kiwi pukupuku
Scientific Name: Apteryx owenii

Size: 13.8-17.7 inches (35-45 cm); Bill Length: 2.4-2.8 inches (6.3-7.2 cm) in the male, 2.9-3.7 inches (7.5-9.4 cm) in the female.

Habitat: Oceania; endemic to New Zealand. Found in the Karori Sanctuary (reintroduced) and on Kapiti Island, off the southwestern coast of North Island (introduced). It has also been introduced on four other islands off of North Island (Red Mercury, Hen, Tiritiri Matangi and Motuihe) and two islands off of northeastern and southwestern South Island (Long Island and Chalky Island).

This kiwi is found in evergreen and mature deciduous forests with dense undergrowth. It can also be found at the margins of forest-scrub and grasslands. In temperate regions, it is found from sea-level to an elevation of 3,280 ft (1000 m), mainly in hills. Formerly it probably occurred in plains and mountains

Status: Near Threatened. Global population: 800 adult individuals with a stable population trend. Introduced predators (such as domestic dogs, cats and the weka) have caused the populations to plummet and remain the greatest threats. Reintroduction of this kiwi on predator free islands and removal of introduced predators from other species have helped to stabilize the populations. More islands have been examined for further introductions, but given the health of the present island populations, and their geographical spread, there is limited need for additional island populations. The genetic diversity of the species is being assessed to determine if they are severely bottle-necked and whether it might be possible to increase their genetic diversity by introducing new blood lines from Long Island, since currently all reintroduction birds are sourced from Kapiti Island (which may have had only five founders).

Diet: Mostly invertebrates, but also fallen fruit, leaves and fern sporangia may also be eaten. Invertebrates eaten range from 0.2-1.6 inches (5-40 mm) in size. Earthworms, spiders, millipedes, beetles and larva are the most commonly foraged.

Searches for food items are done by probing with the bill in soil, natural hollows and rotten logs. It is believed that they detect prey mainly by means of smell.

Nesting: Sexes are similar in plumage, however the female is larger and longer-billed than the male. It is a flightless nocturnal bird with a 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 brown, becoming a paler, brownish-gray in the neck area. There are long black bristles around the base of the bill. The hind neck and upper-parts are brown to brown-black. There are irregularly barred yellowish-tinged, grayish-buff to whitish markings throughout the torso. The chest is similar but the pale barring is lighter. Albinism has been recorded in this species. The iris is blackish-brown and the bill is ivory to pink colored. The claws are off-white. The juvenile is similar to the adult, but with smaller, softer feathers. There is no real ‘downy stage’ in this species. The claws in juveniles are black.

Kiwis are monogamous with a life-long bond. Breeding season occurs from September through October. The nest is a horizontal or slightly upward-sloping burrow which is 7.8-78.7 inches (20–200 cm) long. The diameter of the burrow is 3.5-5.9 inches (9–15 cm) and it is dug by both sexes. The nest is sometimes in a drain or well concealed in the natural cavity of a log or beneath dense vegetation. Leaves and twigs are taken in as lining. A new nest site is used for each breeding attempt.

The clutch is 1 egg, rarely 2. The egg coloring is white to greenish-white. The incubation is performed by the male for 63-76 days. Kiwis hatch fully feathered and leave the nest unaccompanied at 1 week of age. This kiwi can live up to 83 years with an average life expectancy at 45 years.

Cool Facts: The Little Spotted Kiwi is the smallest of the Kiwis. The male gives a high-pitched ascending whistle, which is repeated up to 30 times in a series lasting up to 20 seconds, while the female's whistle is lower and more tremulous, making a rolling ‘churr’ sound. Both sexes during foraging make grunting sounds. They also make snorting sounds in aggression and hiss and do bill-snaps in threatening situations.

Found in Songbird ReMix Kiwis

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