Brown Kiwi

(Apteryx mantelli)




Facts about this animal

The kiwi's body is covered by some kind of "fur", actually a thick covering of shaggy hairlike grey-brown feathers. The useless vestigial wings (4-5 cm long) are completely hidden under the plumage. They have no external tails. The wide spacing of their robust sharp-clawed legs gives them an amusing rolling gait. Kiwis are stout birds, standing 50 cm tall with females (2,060-3,850 grams) weighing up to 30 percent more than males (1,440-3,060 grams).

The females lay 1–2 white eggs (125 × 78 mm, 430 g) in either a burrow or hollow log, or sometimes under dense vegetation, mostly between June and September. In two-egg clutches, the eggs are laid 4–6 weeks apart. Incubation is generally by the male, and the incubation period can range from 70–100 days. Incubating birds develop a brood patch. The chicks hatch fully feathered and remain in the nest for about a week before venturing out unaccompanied. Usually they return to the nest for several weeks and seem to stay close to their natal territory for at least 6–9 months before dispersing to find a vacant territory. Growth continues for at least 24 months.

Did you know?
that it is estimated that kiwis can see less than a metre ahead of them in daylight, and about two metres at night, and that kiwis smell their prey rather than see it.? The kiwi's long (up to 20 cm) pale grey-brown bill is unique in the bird world in having the nostrils located near the tip.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Apteryx mantelli
Name (English) Brown Kiwi
Name (French) Kiwi brun, Kiwi de North Island
Name (German) Nördlicher Streifenkiwi
Name (Spanish) Kiwi marrón de la Isla Norte
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Kathy Brader



Range New Zealand
Habitat Subtropical and temperate forests, shrubland
Wild population Approx. 35'000 (1996)
Zoo population 48 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Brown Kiwi


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 21 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Kathy Brader

Why do zoos keep this animal

The brown kiwi is endangered in the wild. With a view of building up a reserve population, an International Studbook has been established under the WAZA umbrella, and a coordinated conservation breeding programme is operated by New Zealand zoos. These zoos also engage in in situ conservation projects.

Of course, the kiwi is very popular with New Zealanders who call themselves kiwis, but due to their nocturnal habits few New Zealanders have seen them in the wild. Therefore keeping kiwis in zoos and similar institutions fulfils also an educational role.