Australia New Zealand Animals – WordPress Blog


Common Names: Common Kiwi or Southern Brown Kiwi or Tokoeka

Scientific Name: Apteryx australis

Field Biologist: Dr. C.


Kiwis eat invertebrates such as earthworms, centipedes, spid.ers, and beetles from the ground which they find with their long bills. Their nostrils are on the tip of the bill and help these odd birds find food. There is a video of a foraging kiwi and additional information at:

Interesting Characteristics and Behaviors:

Kiwis are birds that are nocturnal. That means they are active at night. That also means that very few people will ever see one except in a nature center.

Kiwis are also flightless. Their feathers look hair-like, and you can see only a hint of wings. They don’t have tails, so they are very unusual for a bird.

The females sing “kee-wee” or “kee-kee” to defend their territories and in duets with their mates. The males sing “kurr kurr.”


Kiwis mate for life. They nest in burrows underground or in thick vegetation. They usually only lay one egg which the male incubates for 90 days. The chick is able to forage for food within a couple days of hatching. It will tend to stay near its parents for about one year.

Range and habitat:

Other than in zoos and other nature centers, the common kiwi is only found on the southern island of the two-island country of New Zealand. The zone is subtropical (like southern Florida) to temperate (like the central United States). Kiwis like forests or dense shrubs and grasses.



This is a ground nesting flightless bird. Two predators that eat the juvenile kiwis, chicks, and eggs are feral cats and stoats. Stoats are mammals that were introduced to New Zealand. A trapping program seems to be working, as the numbers of native birds are increasing. Dogs, ferrets, and bush-tailed possums also eat kiwi adults