You probably know that New Zealanders are referred to as “Kiwis”…based on the iconic national bird. Well, I was lucky enough recently to go to Auckland Zoo to enjoy a Kiwi Experience…with Kiwis being a nocturnal bird and with their numbers declining, not many people get to see them in daylight…and certainly not touch them…which is where the Zoo comes in.
Before we get to the pictures…here are some Kiwi facts…
1. The Kiwi lays the largest egg compared to its size of any bird in the world. If you think they grow to around the size of a chicken, just look how big the egg is, in my hands, in the picture below!
2. The definition of the length of a bird’s beak is from the nostril to the tip. With the Kiwi having nostrils at the end of its beak, that makes it the shortest beak in the world!
3. The Kiwi has whiskers.
4. A Kiwi’s feathers are quite coarse, more like hairs. They are fully-feathered when they hatch.
5. Most birds have hollow bones, a Kiwi’s have marrow in them just like a mammal.
6. The Kiwi is by far the smallest member of the ratite family of birds which includes the Ostrich and Cassowary.
7. They are flightless. There is you can see a little “claw” where a wing would be but it serves no real purpose.
Because New Zealand did not have any local mammals other than bats, birds started to evolve to fill the gap and had no need to fly…who knows how things might be now if man had not arrived.
Anyway, here are some pictures from the Zoo…enjoy…and do what you can to help conserve what you can, wherever you may be. This is an 11-day old North Island Brown Kiwi chick…which will be released to a safe island when grown. We were told that the Kiwi is an ideal conservation bird because they can fend for themselves from hatching. Amazing.
I hope you can see just from looking at me just how much I enjoyed this…and that they enjoy being tickled behind the head!!