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Kiwi Bird or kiwis are flightless birds native to New Zealand, in the genus Apteryx and family Apterygidae. Approximately the size of a domestic chicken, kiwi are by far the smallest living ratites.
See the fact file below for more information on the Kiwi Bird or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Kiwi Bird worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
DESCRIPTION AND BEHAVIOUR OF THE KIWI BIRD
- Kiwis are birds that are found in New Zealand, that cannot fly.
- They belong to a group of flightless birds known as ratites but are much smaller and shorter-legged than the other birds in the group.
- Their wings are so small that they more closely resemble tiny feathers.
- Their feathers have been so accustomed to life on the ground that they have a hair-like texture and appearance with bushy coats to help camouflage them from predators in the sky.
- Kiwis have highly developed senses, with nostrils at the end of their beaks (the only birds with this feature!) and sensory pits that allow them to sense their prey underground.
- There are five (5) species of kiwi:
- Brown kiwi
- Live in the North Island
- Four distinct forms
- Population is at risk and declining (less than 25,000 left)
- Great spotted kiwi
- Live in the top half of the South Island
- Largest of the kiwi species and live in higher altitudes
- Population is threatened and vulnerable (about 15,000 left)
- Little spotted kiwi
- Live on Kapiti Island and are very adventurous
- The only species of kiwi to become extinct on the mainland
- Population is at risk, but recovering (about 1,400 left)
- The rarest of the five kiwi species
- Found in the Marlborough Sands
- Only one natural population of about 450 left
- Three geographically and genetically distinct forms
- Found on the West Coast of the South Island
- Population is only about 400 with varying threat levels
HISTORY AND HABITAT OF THE KIWI BIRD
- Although there is some debate about the origins of the word “kiwi”, the genus name “Apteryx” is derived from the Ancient Greek language, meaning “without wing”.
- According to DNA studies, the kiwi bird’s closest relative is the elephant bird (seen to the right) of Madagascar, which has been extinct since about 1000-1200 CE, likely due tohuman activity.
- Before the arrival of humans in New Zealand beginning in the 13th century, there weren’t many endemic mammals (only bats) and a variety of birds, including the kiwi.
- Kiwis are mostly nocturnal, and this habit is likely due to habitat intrusion by humans and predators; in some cases where there are few humans or predators, kiwis come out during the day.
- Kiwis prefer subtropical and temperate forests, but some can also be found in cooler habitats and even in higher altitudes in mountains.
- Survival rates for kiwis are not great – only about 5-10% of kiwi chicks survive into adulthood without any help or management.
- As a result, there are many sanctuaries (five in New Zealand) set up to protect and preserve kiwis, as well as ones on the Australian mainland.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE KIWI BIRD
- Kiwis typically look for a mate that they will stay with for the rest of their lives; therefore, they are monogamous birds.
- Kiwi relationships can last up to twenty (20) years!
- They lay enormous eggs relative to their small size which places a lot of stress on the body of the kiwi; the mother has to eat at least double, or three-times her normal amount of food.
- The kiwi diet is omnivorous; because they live in diverse habitats, they can eat a wide range of foods including worms, berries, seeds, and sometimes even fungi and crayfish.
- When a kiwi drinks, they immerse their beak, tip their head back, and gurgle the water down.
- Kiwis have small eyes and also a small field of vision.
- They rely little on sight and more on other senses to survive.
- A kiwis bill is long and very sensitive to the touch, and their gizzard is weak.
- Kiwis are a national icon in New Zealand and are a symbol of the unique animals and wildlife that can be found there.
- The Maori have strong cultural and spiritual associations with kiwis.
- The kiwi is a flagship species for conservation with over 90 groups in New Zealand actively working to protect kiwi birds.
Kiwi Bird Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Kiwi Bird across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Kiwi Bird worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Kiwi Bird or kiwis which are flightless birds native to New Zealand, in the genus Apteryx and family Apterygidae. Approximately the size of a domestic chicken, kiwi are by far the smallest living ratites.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Fact or Myth?
- Threats to Kiwis
- Labeling a Kiwi
- The Maori Connection
- Kiwi Bird Crossword
- Acrostic Poem
- A “Sort” of Flightlessness
- A Day in the Life of a Kiwi
- Kiwi Bird Wordsearch
- Design a Postage Stamp
Link/cite this page
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Link will appear as Kiwi Bird Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 7, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.