of these articles is occupied with the bird family of the Kiwis. Other meanings of the term Kiwi are under Kiwi
a stuffed Streifenkiwi
Class: Birds (Aves)
subclass: Urkiefervögel (Palaeognathae)
order: Run birds (Struthioniformes)
family: Kiwis (Apterygidae)
Kind: Kiwis
Scientific name
Shaw 1813

the Kiwis (Apterygidae) or Schnepfenstrausse is flight-unable, night-active birds in the forests of New Zealand. The family heard to the order of the run birds (Struthioniformes) and rezent Apteryx with three kinds and several subspecies consists only of the kind. In the order of the run birds Kiwis represent the representative smallest with distance.

The Kiwi is the national and coat of arms animal New Zealand and as pointed name the self-designation of the inhabitants of New Zealand.

Table of contents


Kiwis is perfect not only the smallest all run birds, but also in their morphology deviating from other families. They are 35 to 65 centimeters long, up to 35 centimeters high and tofive kilograms heavily. Females are somewhat larger and 10 to 20% heavier on average.

They carry a brown plumage, which works nearly like a Behaarung. Like to all run birds the breastbone comb is missing to the Kiwis, at that normally thoseFlight musculature sets. So the Kiwis has still small, four to five centimeters long wings, is however not in the situation to fly thereby. The wings carry small claws at the ends and remain hidden under the plumage. ThoseClaws do not have a recognizable function and are obviously vestiges, which one finds equally with some Emus and Kasuaren.

Kiwis do not possess a tail, which contributes to the fact that they have an unusual oval body form. To this appearance also those carryfar to the rear legs shifted. These strong legs carry, as with most birds, four toes; with them Kiwis are able to run well and fast. Longer escape distances are however usually unnecessary in their unclear habitat.

The headthe Kiwis is relatively small, the bill very long and downward curved. With the Streifenkiwi the bill over 20 cm becomes long. It is larger with females around well 30% than with males. The upper bill is somewhat longer thanthe Unterschnabel. In order to hold while stationary the equilibrium, Kiwis often support themselves by their bill. Kiwis cannot see good particularly, hear but however all the better and smell - a characteristic under birds - very well. The nose openings are because of the point and not as with most birds at the basis of the bill. At the bill basis Kiwis carry „of mammals, in reality however modified feathers/springs for bristles “, which remind of the Vibrissen (Schnurrbarthaare ) are.

Onefurther characteristic is the Körpertemperatur, which is with 38 °C far under that of most birds and resembles rather the one mammal.


ways of their nocturnal and hidden way of life are often the sound giving the only one, whatHumans of Kiwis receive. Kiwis call the whole year and the whole night through, except with strong wind and at very bright full moon nights.

With the calls it acts around shrill whistles, those with favorable conditions up to 5 kmcarry far. While Kiwis discharge these, they stretch the neck and the bill up. Males call more frequently than females, and their whistles sound in pitch and clay/tone length differently.

The calls seem to play mainly in the district defense a role. Itby Kiwis of the neighbouring districts are often answered.

spreading and habitat

Kiwis live on the three large islands of New Zealand: North island, south island and Stewart Iceland. There are it in addition on numerous small islands before the coastsNew Zealand; on most of these they were introduced however with security, on the remaining with high probability by humans.

The original Habitat of the Kiwis the forests, those were Polynesian with exception of the high mountains New Zealand before the arrivalSettlers almost completely covered. Today they are domestic also in, the bush-existed open areas developed artificially. In addition they belong to that completely few native animals, which could settle in the coniferous tree mono cultures cultivated by the Europeans. However Kiwis are despitetheir adaptability by the hunt pressure by brought in Raubtiere from numerous regions disappeared and only incompletely over New Zealand spreads.

In the mountains there are Kiwis at values of 1200 M. All Kiwis needs Habitate with high degree at humidity andloose, humus-rich soil.

way of life


Streifenkiwi (Apteryx australis)
Streifenkiwi (Apteryx australis)

Kiwis are exclusively night active. On the day they hide themselves in their caves and Unterschlupfen, which do not leave them before sunset. Come out they then,move they with complete darkness in the protection of Unterholz and Gesträuch.

Their whole life long Kiwis a district , which they divide with the partner, inhabit with which it in Monogamie live together. The district is defended by both sexesand a size varying strongly from kind to kind has: Zwergkiwis guard only 2 to 3 hectares, while the district of a Streifenkiwi pair covers 5 to 50 hectares. While the district borders in the reproduction time aggressively one defends, becomes othersTimes of the yearly the presence of other Kiwis in the district up to a certain degree tolerates. If a district is lost through Rodung, a Kiwi pair remains often still several weeks there, before it looks around for a new environment. The district borders becomewith excrement marks, again an actually mammal-typical behavior, which otherwise as good one does not find under birds as.

Within the district Kiwis put numerous cultivate, which are changing used. They serve for sleeping and in the reproduction time also asBruthöhle. The entrance is to 15 cm broad and mostly under more closely vegetation or between tree roots hidden. Up to 2 m of long tunnels supplies from here to the cave, which enough is large, around place for two Kiwisoffer.

Einzelgängeri Kiwis is either quite young birds or such, which lost their partner.


Kiwis are Allesfresser, which nourish themselves of all animal and vegetable materials, mainly stochern it however inSoil after eddyless animals, above all earthworms, Tausendfüssern and insect larvae. The movements of the animals in the soil can be noticed by Kiwis; they sink then their bill in the soil and ore branches the booty. Thereby Kiwis in their district leave characteristicBill holes, which are deep up to 15 cm and which betray presence of a Kiwis reliably.

Besides also fruits and insects are picked up by the soil.


only a new partner look for reproduction as monogame birds if the olddied. One observed Kiwi pairs, which spent over ten years together. Annually between August and October the reproduction time begins for the Kiwi pairs. They hunt then each other, full-lead jumps and are extremely call joyful.

Breeding one becomes buildsin the district used, always one, which is old already several months or years, so that the entrance of vegetation could close up. The male prepares herein the nest, by collecting Moose and grasses and thus thoseNIST cave out-pads.

The female inserts then or two, rarely three eggs. The egg has an enormous size. With the Streifenkiwi it becomes large 13x8 cm and has a weight of 500 G. These are in relation to their body size thoselargest bird eggs of the world. With the Streifenkiwi and with the Zwergkiwi afterwards only the male breeds, with the Haastkiwi both sexes alternating. If the male breeds alone, sleeps the female in another building, which is convenient in the proximity. With 63 to92 days lasts the breeding time unusually for a long time. The breeding male leaves the building each night, in order to eat; the duration of the activity is hardly limited during the brood. With the Haastkiwi the female transfers the breeding business to this tracing. The eggsare very much endangered, above all Wekarallen are on Kiwi eggs out.

The slipping Kiwis looks already like small expenditures of parents. As Nestflüchter they move five or six days after slipping already around. During it by day still ofMales to be protected, leave them at night the nest alone and by parents are hardly guarded. The cats, dogs and weasels brought in in New Zealand fall very frequently young Kiwis to the victim.

At the age of 18 months Kiwis reach the fullSize. With two years they are sex ripe. The life span can amount to over twenty years. In the zoo a Streifenkiwi lived even 35 years.


exterior systematics

the classical aspect of external systematics are that thosenext relatives the Kiwis the Moa to be would have. Justified this opinion was only by the fact that these two run bird families are common in New Zealand. However it is probably that they separated themselves before very long time, as New Zealand still inPart Gondwanalands was, and that it is rather a coincidence that both Taxa survived only in New Zealand in the Holozän.

New DNA analyses come to contrary results. A relationship of the Moa with the Kiwis is not given therefore. Both Haddrath& Baker 2001 and Cooper 1997 came to the conclusion that the Kiwis was the group of sisters of a common Taxons of Kasuaren and Emus, and that these three Taxa are together again the group of sisters the bunch. Completely undisputedly is howeveralso this thesis not yet.

internal systematics

three kinds in a kind to the Kiwis are counted:

the Streifenkiwi besides into three subspecies is divided,those recently sometimes the status of independent kinds receive.


knows fossil history Kiwi fossils only from the Pleistozän and Holozän. However assumptions that they are a very old group of animals, are supported by foot castings from the Miozän, those thatKiwis to be assigned. A fossil kind occasionally specified from the Pliozän of Australia (Metapteryx bifrons) is in opinion of most zoologists in truth a young animal from the relationship of the Emus.

humans and Kiwis

since thosefirst Maori - settlers New Zealand reached, Kiwis generally speaking yardstick were hunted. Already the Maori displaced Kiwis from numerous regions and created thus islandful torn up circulation areas of the Kiwis. Becoming extinct the Zwergkiwis on the north island was caused by the Maori. Forthe Kiwi hunt were suitable the Maori special tactics on, which contained also the imitation of the calls. Kiwis were hunted particularly because of their meat, in addition, because of the feathers/springs, which had meaning as decoration.

When the white settlers reached New Zealand,worsened the situation for the Kiwis again. In 19. Century Kiwi feathers/springs were exported even to Europe, since one used them as trimming of dresses. Besides stuffed Kiwis enjoyed of increasing popularity with collecting tanks. Above all of thatWhite ones bring along dog, cats, foxes and Marder provided for a hunt pressure, to which the birds had hardly been up to. Thus Kiwis in the east and the north of the south island as well as in offshore regions of the north island were exterminated completely. Retreat areas remained among other things the fjord country, the Tongariro region, the North Auckland Peninsula and Stewart Iceland.

The hunt for Kiwis was forbidden 1908. Since 1921 Kiwis stand under protection. From humans Kiwis threatens today no direct danger more, probably however still by thoseLandscape destruction and particularly by the brought in animals. Into the 1990ern a only one run away shepherd dog in the forest of Waitangi killed 500 Kiwis, which more than half of the there population was within fewer days. It becomes estimated that on thatMainland 94% the young Kiwis by cats or weasels to be killed, before they become 100 days old.

All three Kiwi kinds are led endangered of the IUCN as. Since the Kiwis has a high admitting heating degree as national birds of New Zealand, it givesin recent time strengthened efforts around its protection. Endangered populations are brought on islands, which are cleaned before by cats, rats and other potenziellen dangers. Of the Braunkiwi (Apteryx australis mantelli), the subspecies of the Streifenkiwis living on the north island,exist only approximately 25,000 animals, it therefore as threatened are classified. One as subspecies Apteryx australis rowi led population of the birds consists sometimes even only of 250 individuals and is acutely threatened from becoming extinct.

In New Zealand Kiwis haveas national birds a so high value that also the inhabitants of the country call themselves often as „Kiwis “. This led then to the fact that numerous products of New Zealand got the prefix „Kiwi “; the most well-known example is the Kiwifrucht, the 1959 of thatCommercial firm Turners and Growers under this name was marketed for the first time and under the shortened name „the Kiwi “in Europe today as the actually name-giving bird is more well-known.


  • Josep del Hoyo et al.: Handbook OF the BirdsOF the World. Volume 1 (eastsmell tons of Ducks). Lynx Edicions, 1992, ISBN 8487334105
  • Trevor H. Worthy & smelling pool of broadcasting corporations Holdaway: The draws to World OF the Moa: Prehistoric would run OF new Zealand. Indiana University press, 2002, ISBN 0253340349
  • Stephen J. Davies: Ratitesand Tinamous. Oxford University press, 2002, ISBN 0198549962
  • A. Cooper: Ancient DNA and avian systematics: From Jurassic park ton decay Iceland extinctions. In: D. Mindell: Avian Molecular evolution and systematics. Academic press, New York 1997, S. 173-211
  • O. Haddrath &A.J. Baker:Complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequences OF extinct birds: ratite phylogenetics and the vicariance biogeography hypothesis. In: Proceedings OF the Royal Society OF London: Biological series 2001, Bd. 268, S. 939-945

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