Northern Brown Kiwi

Apteryx mantelli

Kiwis are the smallest ratites in the world - so they cannot fly. They have no breastbone quill and thus no flight muscles, vestigial wings and no tail. All this simply became superfluous in the course of evolution, as they had no natural enemies.

A shy and vulnerable bird

Before humans settled in New Zealand, these indigenous flightless birds had no natural predators. Then they suddenly found themselves being hunted – both by the new inhabitants themselves and by the animals such as rats, dogs and martens that they brought with them. Kiwis have been actively protected since 1921. Today, their biggest threat comes from predators like stoats, cats and stray dogs as well as from the destruction of their natural habitat.

Keen senses

Kiwis are nocturnal and have very poor eyesight. Their sense of smell, however, is unparalleled in the bird kingdom. They have two nostrils at the tip of their long beaks, which the birds use to sniff out food and find their way. What’s more, bristles on the underside of the beak give kiwis an excellent sense of touch.


  • Origin

    New Zealand

  • Habitat

    in the woods of New Zealand

  • Diet

    Kiwis are omnivores, but their favourite meals are worms and insects.

  • Status

    approx. 25,000

  • Size

    65 cm

  • Weight

    Male: 1440 to 3060 g
    Female: 2060 to 3850 g

  • Breeding period

    74 to 84 days

  • Achievable age

    up to 35 years in human care

Threat Categories of IUCN

Did you know that ... relation to their body size, kiwis lay gigantic eggs that can weigh up to half a kilo,
...a kiwi couple stays together for life,
...kiwis can easily reach ground speeds of up to 19 km/h?

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