156. Kiwi

Kiwi is a flightless bird, endemic to New Zealand. It is the size of a domestic chicken and is the smallest living ratite. Closely related to the Emu and Cassowaries, kiwis are shy and nocturnal. They avoid human interference and predators.

Kiwi has a highly developed sense of smell-unusual in a bird! The nostrils placed at the end of its long beak, are useful in locating worms under the soil. Kiwi eats seeds, worms, grubs, fruits, cray fish and small invertebrates.

Kiwis are monogamous and are paired and bonded for lives. Kiwi lays the largest egg compared to its body size. The size of a kiwi is that of a chicken but its egg is six times bigger than the egg of a chicken! The egg weighs one fourth of the weight of the kiwi. Brown kiwi females are known to lay eggs 450 grams in weight. The male incubates the egg for 63 to 92 days.

Like all ratites, kiwis have no keel on their breast bone to anchor the wing muscle and have barely any wings at all! Kiwi has a long pliable bill sensitive to touch. Generally birds have hollow bones to reduce the body weight and make the flying more efficient. But kiwi has bone marrow, just like the mammals.

Kiwi is the well known national symbol of New Zealand and is prominent in the coat of arms, crests and badges of many New Zealand cities, clubs and organizations. Kiwi refers to a New Zealand and a Kiwi dollar to the New Zealand dollar.

Visalakshi Ramani


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