Genus Apteryx

Fascinating Facts

  • Predation by introduced animals and loss of habitat affect populations in the wild, severity dependent on the species.
  • Kiwis’ wings are so small (about 1 inch long) they are considered vestigial, and are not visible through their hair-like feathers.
  • The kiwi is the national animal and symbol of New Zealand.
  • They lay the largest egg of any bird compared to body size.
  • Kiwis are the only bird with nostrils at the end of their beak.
  • They have very strong, muscular legs, which make up about a third of their total body weight and are used for running and fighting.


Kiwis are forest dwellers, and live in a series of burrows under dense vegetation or in hollow logs, often dug with their powerful feet. They use their highly developed sense of smell to hunt insects, worms, grubs, and amphibians underground, and supplement their diet with seeds and fruit.

Status in the Wild

Little spotted kiwi – Near Threatened, IUCN 2012

Great spotted kiwi and Southern brown kiwi – Vulnerable, IUCN 

Okarito kiwi and Northern brown kiwi – Endangered, IUCN 2014


Steep, wet forested areas of New Zealand; exact distribution dependent on species.

Location in the Zoo

Reptiles and Birds Zone of the Sculpture Learning Plaza

Animals & Exhibits