Word Search based on NZ's national bird
Word Search sheets (see attachment)
Fill out the word search sheet.
The Kiwi is endemic to, meaning it is only found in, New Zealand. New Zealanders have adopted it as their national symbol.
A looong beak
- Kiwi have long beaks with nostrils at the tip for sniffing out their favourite foods like worms, spiders and other insects. Their beaks also have organs that sense vibrations in the soil which helps them find wriggling insects underground when they poke their beak deep into the dirt. Kiwi also like to eat the fruit of native plants.
Teeny, tiny wings
- Kiwi have wings but they are very very small which means kiwi are flightless. Because they are flightless kiwi have trouble getting away from predators like cats, dogs and stoats.
- Kiwi feathers are rough, shaggy and brown and have special patterns and colours to camouflage them on the ground.
What's that smell?
- Kiwi have a very distinctive smell - some say that they smell like a forest mushroom. Dogs can smell them from far away.
Kiwi kick boxers
- Kiwi defend themselves using their powerful legs and sharp claws to kick and scratch at anything attacking them. They are also fast runners which can help them get away from predators.
- Female kiwis lay enormous eggs that can take up 20 percent of their body and weigh around 430g. The egg has a large yolk in it that helps feed the chick. For the North Island brown kiwi and the little spotted kiwi, only the males sit on the egg, but the parents of other species of kiwi share the job of keeping the egg warm for over 70 days until it hatches. Parents don’t feed the chicks after they hatch because they are already able to find their own food.
- Maori call kiwi ‘ te manu huna a Tāne’ or the hidden bird of Tāne because they are nocturnal. During the day they sleep in underground burrows that they have dug or they find in logs, hollow trees or thick vegetation. At night they leave their burrows to forage for food.
Species of Kiwi
There are 5 different species of kiwi
- The Brown Kiwi is our most common kiwi and is found only in the North Island. It lives in 4 areas in the North Island – Northland, Coromandel, Western (Taranaki, Wanganui, King Country) and Eastern (Bay of Plenty, East Coast and Hawke’s Bay).
Little Spotted Kiwi
- The Little Spotted Kiwi is our smallest kiwi, only weighing about 1kg.They are found only on offshore islands around New Zealand and at Zealandia in Wellington. In 1980 the population was only 1000 birds and was extinct in the North and South Island. The only birds left were kept on Kapiti and D’Urville Islands so they were safe from predators.
- The Great Spotted Kiwi is our largest kiwi growing up to 45cm high and weigh about 3 – 4 kg. It can be found in the top half of the South Island at near Nelson, in the Paparoa range and at Arthur’s Pass. Known to be a mountaineer, it is at home on snowy mountains and in forests.
- The Rowi Kiwi is our rarest kiwi and is only found in Okarito near Franz Josef on the West Coast of the South Island. There are only 300 Rowi are left in the whole world!
- The Tokoeka is found in Fiordland, Haast and on Stewart Island. The Stewart Island Tokoeka is a bit weird because it is often seen out feeding during the day and they also look after eggs in family groups with each group member taking turns to sit on the egg.
Kiwi and Māori
Kiwi are seen as a taonga or treasures by Māori and cloaks made from kiwi feathers, called kahukiwi, are usually only worn by chiefs. Māori no longer hunt kiwi and some hapu now work to protect kiwi through predator control and creating new forests for them to live in.
The kiwi is in danger!
Ninety five percent of kiwi chicks die before they are six months old. Many of them are killed by introduced predators, mainly stoats and cats. Dogs kill adult kiwi and possums cause problems by killing chicks, eating eggs and also taking up burrows where kiwi breed. Even wild pigs like the taste of kiwi eggs.
Loss of habitat
People have chopped down the forests where kiwi used to live. Kiwi have territories, which means they each live in their own area of bush. If they don’t have much space to live in they have to compete with each other for space to live and for food to eat. Just imagine if everyone on your road suddenly all had to live in one house!