Northern Brown Kiwi

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(New page: '''Common Name:''' Northern Brown Kiwi<br> '''Māori Name:''' Tokoeka<br> '''Scientific Name:''' Apteryx mantelli '''Size:''' 19.7-25.6 inches (50-65 cm); '''Bill Length:''' 4.3-6.1 inche...)
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Revision as of 17:00, 6 February 2016

Common Name: Northern Brown Kiwi
Māori Name: Tokoeka
Scientific Name: Apteryx mantelli

Size: 19.7-25.6 inches (50-65 cm); Bill Length: 4.3-6.1 inches (11-15.5 cm) in the male, 5.1-8 inches (13-20.5 cm) in the female.

Habitat: Oceania; endemic to New Zealand. Found on the North Island and introduced to several small neighboring islands.

This kiwi is found in subtropical to temperate forests and shrub lands, especially wet forests of podocarps and hardwoods. It is found also in pine plantations and in farmlands and pastures.

Status: Endangered. Global population: 30,000 adult individuals or less with a declining population trend of 2.5% per year. Formerly widespread throughout North Island and the northern part of South Island, but now the populations are fragmented. It is locally common in Northland, sparsely distributed in Coromandel Peninsula, the Bay of Plenty area, Gisborne south to the northern Ruahine Range and from Taranaki eastward to Tongariro. There are stable populations on Little Barrier Island (c. 1000 individuals), Kawau Island and Pounui Island. In 1996, the total population was estimated at 35,000 birds. It has probably declined by at least 90% since 1900, and is still declining at 2.5% per year at some unmanaged sites. The species disappeared from much of North Island following destruction of native woodland, but the largest counted population of this race (800–1000 birds) is in a commercial plantation at Waitangi. On North Island, at least 94% of chicks perish before reaching breeding age, about half of them killed by introduced predators, primarily stoat, domestic cats and domestic dogs. A single dog killed approximately 500 individuals in a period of six weeks. The continuing clearance of habitat fragments remains a threat to small populations.

Diet: Mostly invertebrates from soil and leaf litter. Prey includes spiders, beetles, millipedes, centipedes, earthworms and larva.

The kiwi searches ground and detects prey mainly by smell. It’s bill is then inserted and prey is uncovered by a back-and-forth levering motion of head and neck.

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, that lacks a visible tail, and has a very long, slightly decurved bill and short, thick legs. The plumage appears hair-like and stiffer than the Southern Brown Kiwi. The head is brownish-gray. There are long black bristles around the base of the bill. The hind neck and upper-parts are rufous-colored, with heavier dark streaking. The iris is blackish-brown and the bill is gray. The legs are lighter gray with the the scutes (bony plates over the toes) ranging from dark gray to brown. The skin between the scutes is much paler. The juvenile is similar to the adult, but with smaller, softer feathers. There is no real ‘downy stage’ in this species.

Kiwis are monogamous with a life-long bond. Breeding season occurs from June through February. The nest is a horizontal or slightly upward-sloping burrow which is 15.6-49.2 inches (40–125 cm) long and has a diameter of 4-8 inches (10–20 cm). It is dug by both sexes. Other times the nest will be in a well concealed, natural cavity in a log or beneath dense vegetation. Fern fronds are taken in as lining. A new nest site is used for each breeding attempt.

The clutch is 1-2 eggs, rarely 3. The egg coloring is white to greenish-white. The incubation is performed by both sexes for 75-84 days. Kiwis hatch fully feathered and leave the nest unaccompanied at 2-3 weeks of age. This kiwi has the average life expectancy of 20 years.

Cool Facts: More chicks were found to hatch in reused nests than in previously unused burrows.

Males give a loud, rising and then falling whistle, transcribed as “ah-eel”, less than 1 second long, repeated about 20 times in a series. This is used as a contact and territorial call and is audible to about a mile (1.5 km) in distance. The female version of this is a shorter, more guttural “ah-eh”, in a somewhat slower series repeated up to 20 times This call usually follows the male call. Both sexes also give off nasal grunts during feeding (which may be a contact call) and various growls for aggression. In aggressive encounters at territorial borders, snorting sounds and bill-snapping is frequent.


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