The Southern Brown Kiwi bird, also known as the Tokoeka, is a flightless bird from New Zealand and belongs to the family of Apterygidae. It is one of the five different kiwi species in New Zealand, and the most common, found throughout the South Island and Stewart Island. The bird has a unique appearance, with hair-like feathers, long slender beak, large nostrils at the tip, and distinctively stout legs.
The Southern Brown Kiwi bird is primarily nocturnal and likes to reside in dense forests, shrublands, and grasslands. The male kiwi can weigh up to 3.5kg, while the female is slightly smaller with an average weight of 2.8kg. These birds are territorial and often vocalize at night to fend off their rivals and communicate with their mate. They are also not good flyers and would rather run or hide than fly away from predators.
These birds have a unique breeding system. The male Southern Brown Kiwi bird is the primary caregiver, and the female is responsible for laying eggs. After laying an egg that weighs 15-20% of its body weight, the female will leave the male to incubate and hatch it, which takes about 75-85 days. The male will protect the egg by digging a burrow, protecting it from cold winds, and even defending it from potential predators.
Southern Brown Kiwi bird is a threatened species due to habitat loss and human interference. With its small population size, the species is suffering from inbreeding, which results in increased susceptibility to diseases and reduced genetic diversity. Conservationists are working tirelessly to save this iconic bird and several efforts have been undertaken to breed and release them back into the wild.
The Southern Brown Kiwi bird is a unique and enigmatic bird species, fascinating to watch. Residing primarily in New Zealand's rugged forests and bushlands, the birds are critical for the country’s ecological balance. It is essential to provide safe habitat and reduce human-induced threats to ensure that these incredible birds continue to occupy their rightful place in New Zealand's ecosystem.