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Apterygidae – Kiwis

North Island Brown Kiwi in New Zealand: Photo by Tara Swan

Welcome to our guide to the fascinating Apterygidae family! Dive into the world of these unique birds, known for their distinctive characteristics and intriguing behaviors. Apterygidae, commonly referred to as kiwis, are iconic inhabitants of New Zealand, renowned for their flightlessness and nocturnal habits. Despite their small size, these birds play a significant role in the ecosystem, and their conservation is of utmost importance. Join us as we explore the diverse species within the Apterygidae family, uncovering their habitats, adaptations, and conservation status. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or simply intrigued by these enigmatic creatures, our guides provide valuable insights into the captivating world of kiwis.

Overview of Apterygidae

Kiwis stand out as birds with striking similarities to mammals. They boast a body temperature akin to mammals, alongside poor vision, rudimentary wings, and a unique, non-feathery plumage resembling hair. Their remarkable sense of smell is concentrated in their nostrils, equipped with numerous nerve endings at the tip of a long, flexible bill. This specialized bill aids them in probing for prey within the undergrowth and duff of New Zealand forests, where they demonstrate adeptness in capturing both terrestrial and aquatic prey. Notably nocturnal, kiwis nest in self-excavated underground tunnels, with females laying eggs that are proportionally the largest among all bird species. In most cases, only males undertake incubation duties, with occasional assistance from helpers.