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Figure 12.8: Change in distribution of the kiwi

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Note: All species of kiwi are combined, to show their overall distribution.

Kiwi (apteryx supp)

Photo of a kiwi.

Kiwi are flightless, nocturnal birds, which feed largely on invertebrates. They lay a single, very large egg. Currently, the populations of the five kiwi species total about 70,000.

All kiwi species are in decline and considered threatened. Their rates of decline depend on the densities of introduced predators, especially dogs, ferrets, stoats, and cats. The fastest rate of decline is in lowland areas, with slower declines or stable populations at high-altitude sites, where predators are absent or scarce.

Guided by a recovery plan, the department of Conservation's strategy includes:

  • protecting nests, chicks, and adults from predators in the wild

  • collecting eggs or chicks from the wild and raising them in captivity for release back into the wild when they are able to defend themselves from stoats and cats

  • undertaking research into their genetics, breeding ecology, and habitat requirements

  • empowering iwi and community groups to manage kiwi populations, especially where kiwi are still found on private land.


Data source and photo: Courtesy of the Department of Conservation.

Text description of figure

This figure shows the distribution of all kiwi species combined on a map of New Zealand: Its estimated pre-human distribution, during the 1970s and current distribution. It shows that its range has contracted and it now occupies about 17 per cent of its original range.