Little brown birds!

The North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) can be found, as its name implies, on the North Island of New Zealand and is the most common kiwi species in the world. Its total population is currently around 35,000 birds. The North Island Brown Kiwi has adapted to living in farm and plantation land, although it prefers the dense temperate and sub-tropical forests from which it originated.

The plumage of the North Island Brown Kiwi is reddish-brown and has a spiky appearance. They stand approximately 16 inches (40 cm) tall and weigh around 6 pounds (2.8 kg), with females outweighing males by a pound or two. Their long bills are pale in color, and their nostrils are located near the tip of the bill instead of the base, like other bird species.

The diet of the North Island Brown Kiwi consists mostly of insects and earthworms, and the birds forage for food by probing the leaf litter on the ground with their slender bills. North Island Brown Kiwis are nocturnal, and spend the day in the burrows they dig into the nooks of tree roots with their powerful feet. Their calls are usually heard as high whistles, although the females can make deeper cries.

North Island Brown Kiwis hold the world record for laying the largest eggs relative to their body size, with the eggs comprising 15% of their total body weight. Breeding can take place several times a year, and usually a clutch of two eggs are laid by the females. Because the eggs are so large, the eggs are laid several weeks apart. Males incubate the egg, and have a special brood patch on their bellies to help transfer their body heat to the eggs. After about 80 days, the eggs will hatch, and chicks start to venture out of the nest after about a week. After six weeks, they will leave to start living on their own.

The North Island Brown Kiwi is considered to be an endangered species by the IUCN, with a 90% drop in its overall population since the beginning of the 1900s. These birds evolved in an environment with no natural terrestrial predators, and the introduction of species like dogs, cats and stoats devastated their population. And though the North Island Brown Kiwi has adjusted to surviving in developed land, loss of habitat has also contributed to their decline.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Source for all images used in this post.