As we all know, the Kiwi bird is New Zealand’s popular and well-loved native bird which inhabits several areas around the country.
Moving forward in this article, we will discuss the Kiwi bird habitat, habitat distribution, interesting facts, and several species of the Kiwi bird that exist today.
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Where Does The Kiwi Bird Live?
Kiwis are generally found in temperate and subtropical forests as well as areas around grasslands, wetlands, farms, and sand dunes.
There are specific Kiwi bird species that inhabit different areas all around New Zealand.
Here, we will discuss in detail the habitat distribution of various Kiwi bird species.
Kiwi Bird Habitat Distribution
The Kiwi bird does not need a luxurious forest habitat in order to survive.
They can thrive in temperate and subtropical forests even if they are home to other wild species.
The Kiwi bird especially loves places with trees as well as lots of bushes to hide in.
This is why farmlands and wetlands around the river are some of their most favorite places to call home.
You can also find Kiwi birds in rough farmlands, plantations, mountains, grasslands, and sand dunes because of their depleting natural habitat.
This forces them to find a suitable living place almost anywhere if not a subtropical forest.
The fact that Kiwi birds like to eat directly from the soil makes them want to stay in a place where they can get a lot of dirt.
These soil feeders prefer places where the ground is not covered with tons of leaves which makes it difficult for them to sift through the dirt to get what they need.
Kiwi birds also do not like grounds that have been used by cattle because the soil in such places is hard and excessively dirty.
Therefore, the best habitat for Kiwis is grassland, river land, or even the bushes found alongside suburban roads.
Since this bird is shy, they do well in forests because there are tons of places for them to hide as well as stay safe from any predators.
Now, let’s move on and talk about the different habitats that are taken up by various Kiwi bird species in New Zealand.
Here, we will also list the different regions where they’re found, especially ones with different habitat distributions.
The North Island Brown Kiwi
This particular Kiwi species is found in the North Island as pretty obvious by its name.
You can find this particular bird near Coromandel, Little Barrier Island, Eastern North Island, Northland, Kapiti Island, and Aroha Island among several other places.
This species has also recently declined in its natural habitat due to several predator attacks including cats, dogs, as well as other bird-related diseases.
The Southern Brown Kiwi
The Southern Brown Kiwi species is divided among the Southern Tokoeka and Haast. It is commonly found among the Westland in the South Island.
Other areas such as Stewart Island also inhabit a significant percentage of Kiwi birds.
In this particular region, predators such as dogs, possums, and ferrets are a direct threat to the Kiwi birds where cats are also known to prey on smaller Kiwi chicks.
Compared to the North Inland Brown Kiwi, the population of the Southern Brown Kiwi is more stable due to the minimal presence of the predators attacking them around Stewart Island.
The Little Spotted Kiwi
The little spotted Kiwi is mainly found on Kapiti Island. Other than this, you can also find this species in Long Island and Red Mercury Island, among other similar places for the stock
This Kiwi species is very small in size which is why it is easier for predators such as dogs and cats to prey on them.
This is the reason why a lot of these birds were sent to the glory wildlife sanctuary in 2000.
Even with a lot of conservation efforts going on to save these Kiwi birds, there is little hope for their numbers to significantly improve.
The Great Spotted Kiwi
The Great Spotted Kiwi calls the South Island its home. Recently, its numbers fell due to invasive species and predator attacks.
However, now the Great Spotted Kiwi is only restricted to three regions such as the Hurunui River, Buller River, and the Arthur’s Pass on the northwest coast.
Throughout its life, the Great Spotted Kiwi has to dodge pigs, dogs, cats, and possums in order to survive.
Today, there are less than 14,000 Great Spotted Kiwis alive.
The Okarito Kiwi
The Okarito kiwi is called Rowi in some regions of New Zealand. This particular bird can be found in the Okarito forest along the West Coast of South Island.
Despite conservation efforts, this species is endangered to a significant degree.
The South Okarito forest, after many efforts, was turned into a Kiwi sanctuary in order to protect this bird from predators.
This particular species is nocturnal and very shy. They like to come out at night in order to avoid human interaction and daytime predators.
In some Kiwi bird sanctuaries all over New Zealand, these birds can be easily spotted during the daytime because of the lack of predatory threats.
Now that we have talked about the Kiwi species and their habitat distribution, let’s shed some light on the Kiwi bird territory.
The Kiwi Bird Territory
The Kiwi birds are incredibly territorial species, especially the male ones.
They use the territory in order to attract a female mate which is why their territory is incredibly important to them.
A Kiwi territory can be as big as 100 acres. On these lands, the kiwi birds create small burrows which are a form of shelter for them.
Once their mating procedure is complete, a Kiwi bird couple is generally known to extend their territory together. Part of being territorial also comes with keeping an eye on their neighbor.
This means that if another Kiwi bird is trespassing through their territory, they can call them out aggressively.
Kiwis are also known to kill each other over territorial fights especially when one Kiwi bird tends to demand ownership of both territories.
These fights involve jumps, kicks, and tears using their naturally gifted powerful legs.
This is one of the reasons why you will seldom find a Kiwi bird in a large group or a gathering.
Kiwi bird groups are only found on Stewart Island, and not in any other regions in New Zealand.
The Kiwi Bird Burrows
The Kiwi bird burrow is a form of shelter or nest for these birds.
However, unlike traditional nests, the Kiwi bird does not spend more than one night in a single burrow.
Different Kiwi bird species have different habits when it comes to nesting and burrowing.
The Great Spotted Kiwi in particular likes to live in dens.
They are known to put a lot of effort and time into creating their homes which are nothing short of a labyrinth.
They are several meters long and have more than one entrance or exit which makes them a little confusing for any other predator or bird.
The Little Spotted Kiwi, on the other hand, likes to create single entrance burrows which is pretty simple compared to their Great Spotted Kiwi friends.
Kiwi Birds & Extinction
There is no doubt in the fact that these big birds now face the threat of extension.
Due to human interference, they are endangered mostly because of deforestation and losing a large chunk of their natural habitat.
Various predators such as pigs, cats, dogs, and possums also are a major reason for their lack of survival.
There are several efforts being put into creating Kiwi bird sanctuaries in order to conserve the species to ensure it lives on.
Some Interesting Facts About Kiwi Birds
- The Kiwi bird has shaggy brown feathers that help them camouflage with the ground and hide from predators
- The Kiwi bird has an unpleasant smell similar to mushrooms or ammonia
- Just like ostriches, the Kiwi bird has small flightless wings
- The Kiwi bird is known to lay one of the most heaviest and largest eggs in proportion to their body weight
- Kiwis are known to have lifelong partners and stay in monogamous relationships which means that a male and female Kiwi bird can live as a pair for as long as 20 years
- In this particular species, the female Kiwi bird is dominant over the male
- While most birds are herbivores, the Kiwi bird is an omnivore which means that it can eat both animals and plants
- Kiwi birds are soil feeders which make them incredibly sensitive in terms of smell
- Kiwi birds can sniff out worms from the soil even if they are three to four cm deep in the ground
The Kiwi bird is an interesting flightless bird found nowhere in the world except New Zealand.
With deforestation on the rise, its current endangered status is a call for help to all
Kiwi bird conservatories to take extra care in protecting the native bird of New Zealand.
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