Kiwi chick hatches for first time at Franklin Park Zoo

On December 28, a tiny new feathered face greeted the staff at Franklin Park Zoo. The hatch of the male kiwi chick was a first for this species at the Zoo.

Since his hatch, the young chick has been strong and thriving. Staff has observed him preening his long brown feathers, and probing his beak into the ground in search of insects, both natural behaviors for kiwis. He is already eating an adult diet consisting of a mixture of vegetables, including corn, carrots and string beans, and meat.

Kiwi Day 4 - 5
Kiwi Day 4 - 5
Kiwi Day 4 - 5

“We are very pleased with the growth of the chick so far. With all newly hatched birds, you want to make sure that the legs are not splayed, or in an abnormal position. He has nice strong legs in a good stance and has become more active with each day,” said Dr. Brianne Phillips, Zoo New England Associate Veterinarian. “As with any new chick, we are continuing to monitor him closely, but so far he is doing well.”

Continue reading "Kiwi chick hatches for first time at Franklin Park Zoo" »

Auckland Zoo’s Kiwi Chick Arrives for Special Month


Auckland Zoo is part of ‘Operation Nest Egg’ (O.N.E), a national programme helping to increase Aotearoa’s Kiwi population. The Zoo’s latest fluffy hatchling is the second Kiwi chick this season. The chick is the first to hatch in October, which is also noted as “Save Kiwi Month”.



4_NIBKiwi AV Egg Xray TC WPA 120001Photo Credits: Auckland Zoo

Operation Nest Egg (O.N.E.) involves collecting eggs from selected areas around New Zealand, incubating and caring for them from hatch until they are at an age where they can be released to predator free islands or sites. These sites allow the chicks to grow big and strong while not under threat from predators, and then finally, when they reach around 1.2kg – a size where they are better able to defend themselves – they are released back to the mainland on predator-managed sites.

Sadly, only 5% of chicks that hatch in the wild will reach breeding age due to introduced mammalian predators, which has contributed to the decline of New Zealand’s national bird. Auckland Zoo, working together with the Department of Conservation, Kiwis for Kiwi, and Thames Coast Kiwi Care has successfully contributed to the survival of Northland and Coromandel Kiwi.

Continue reading "Auckland Zoo’s Kiwi Chick Arrives for Special Month" »

Help Name This Endangered Brown Kiwi Chick


The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, and the Embassy of New Zealand in the United States are asking animal lovers to help name an endangered female Brown Kiwi chick.

Members of the public can submit name suggestions, until November 5, via the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s website: . The top suggestions will be put up for a worldwide public vote via the Zoo’s Twitter account (@NationalZoo) on November 13.

Keepers describe the Brown Kiwi chick as fairly calm and laid-back, though she could become more cautious as she matures. She readily eats all of her food, but mealworms appear to be her favorite food. In the past three months, she has tripled her weight and now weighs about 2 pounds (908 grams), which is normal for a young Kiwi. Since Kiwi are nocturnal, she spends most of her day sleeping and only interacts with keepers during routine health checks and weigh-ins.

2_kiwi_chick_fp9a4882Photo & Video Credits: Roshan Patel/ Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

The chick hatched at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) earlier this summer between July 29 and July 30. She is the fifth chick for her parents “Ngati Hine Tahi” and “Ngati Hine Rua”, and she is their first female offspring.

Ngati Hine Tahi and Ngati Hine Rua were both gifts from New Zealand in 2010. Their three older male offspring who hatched at SCBI in 2016 are named Kaha, Hari and Kake. New Zealand’s Ambassador to the United States, Tim Groser, named Kaha (“strong” from Maori). The name Hari translates as “joy”, and Kake translates as “to overcome.”

Kiwi are sacred to the Maori people in New Zealand. SCBI repatriates feathers molted from its Kiwi to New Zealand.

SCBI’s Kiwi participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Brown Kiwi. The chicks born there enter a breeding program when they are fully mature. The SSP makes breeding recommendations to match the birds with mates that will increase the genetic diversity of the population living in human care.

Brown Kiwi are monogamous and usually mate for life. Kathy Brader, bird keeper at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, serves as the SSP coordinator for Brown Kiwi living outside of New Zealand.

Brown Kiwis (Apteryx mantelli) are flightless nocturnal birds that are native to New Zealand. They are classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN, due to non-native predators introduced by humans. They lay the second-largest eggs for body size of any bird—an average 20 percent of the female’s body weight.

In 1975, the Zoo became the first facility to hatch a Brown Kiwi outside of New Zealand. SCBI* has hatched six Kiwi eggs since 2012.

*SCBI plays a leading role in the Smithsonian’s global efforts to save wildlife species from extinction and train future generations of conservationists. SCBI spearheads research programs at its headquarters in Front Royal, Va., the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and at field research stations and training sites worldwide. SCBI scientists tackle some of today’s most complex conservation challenges by applying and sharing what they learn about animal behavior and reproduction, ecology, genetics, migration and conservation sustainability.

Brown Kiwi Chick Thriving at San Diego Zoo


The San Diego Zoo’s Avian Propagation Center is caring for a Brown Kiwi chick for the first time in more than a decade. The female chick hatched from its egg March 11, and as is typical of this species, it didn’t eat for the first six days. The chick began eating and gaining weight, and on April 5, 2016, it weighed 11.8 ounces (333.6 grams).

It is typical for this bird species to lose weight for two weeks after it has hatched. San Diego Zoo animal care staff report the female chick lost 26 percent of her body weight before she began gaining weight the last week of March.

The Kiwi has several unique and unusual traits: it does not fly, the mothers do not feed their chicks, and the egg is four times the expected size for a bird of the Kiwi’s proportions.

Animal care staff will continue to monitor the Brown Kiwi chick, measuring its weight and observing the young bird in a brooder over the next several weeks.

The San Diego Zoo successfully reared its first Brown Kiwi in 1983, and the recent hatching marks the Zoo’s 11th chick. The San Diego Zoo is one of just six zoos in the United States working with these endangered birds.

Kiwi_002_LGPhoto Credits: Ken Bohn/ San Diego Zoo

The North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli; Apteryx australis or Apteryx bulleri) is a species of Kiwi that is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island of New Zealand and, with about 35,000 remaining, is the most common Kiwi. This bird holds the world record for laying the largest eggs relative to its body size.

Females stand about 40 cm (16 in) high and weigh about 2.8 kg (6.2 lb). Males weigh about 2.2 kg (4.9 lb). Their plumage is streaky red-brown and spiky. The North Island Brown Kiwi is the only species of Kiwi found internationally in zoos.

They feed on invertebrates. They have two-three clutches a year with two eggs in each clutch. Chicks are fully feathered at hatching and leave the nest and can fend for themselves within one week.

The North Island Brown Kiwi is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Their major threats come from predators, such as dogs, cats, and stoat Mustela erminea.

Nationwide studies show that, on average, only five percent of Kiwi chicks survive to adulthood. However, in areas under active pest management, survival rates for North Island Brown Kiwi can be far higher.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The important conservation and science work of these entities is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

The First Kiwi Hatches at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Center

2 kiwi

It's no easy task to hatch out of an egg —just ask the season's first North Island Brown Kiwi chick to be hatched at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Center in New Zealand. The chick, now 11 days old, is pictured at six days old, being fed its first meal of beef heart strips by captive breeding ranger Darren Page. It will soon start to feed by itself. At that stage it will be put into a safe pre-release enclosure and monitored closely for the next six to eight months. Once it reaches a goal weight of 2.6 pounds (1200 g), it will be released into the Pukaha Mount Bruce reserve.  Kiwis who reach this size are more able to survive the threat of predators such as rats, stoats and ferrets and will grow and flourish in the wild.

The second kiwi chick of the season was found hatched in its burrow and brought in to the center to be raised in safety, as many wild chicks do not survive when stoats are on the prowl. Three more eggs are currently in the incubators in the Kiwi house and more will be coming in throughout the next few weeks. Staff at Pukaha Mount Bruce expect to raise over 20 Kiwi chicks in their nursery for release during this breeding season. 

1 kiwi

3 kiwi

4 kiwi

5 kiwi

6 kiwi

7 kiwiPhoto credits: Wairarapa Times Age (1,2); Beau Elton (3-7) 

About the size of domestic chickens, Kiwis are flightless birds related to ostriches and emus. These shy, nocturnal birds are found only in New Zealand. All five species of Kiwi are decreasing in number, threatened by loss of habitat and by mammalian predators introduced by humans. Kiwis are fiercely territorial and the only birds in the world known to have nostrils at the end of their bills. This allows them to sniff for food including worms, grubs, insects and berries, during the night when they are active. North Island Brown Kiwis are listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, with the wild population estimated at 35,000.

The Kiwi Hatching Season Begins at Auckland Zoo

1 kiwi

Auckland Zoo's first Kiwi chick has successfully pipped its way through the shell of its egg, officially kicking off this year's Kiwi breeding season. The parents of this yet-to-be-named chick are Two-Toes (Dad) and Binky (Mum) from a private farm in Tanekaha. Tanekaha Community Group is a collection of 20 farms that have been funded by Northland Regional Council to make their farms a safe haven for breeding kiwis. 

From now until March next year, Auckland Zoo's bird team will be working hard incubating, hatching, rearing and releasing Kiwi chicks as part of the BNZ Operation Nest Egg program. The program was started to help increase the survival of Kiwi chicks from wild nests, which are heavily preyed upon by stoats. To date, Auckland Zoo has released 266 kiwi chicks into the wild.

2 kiwi

3 kiwiPhoto credits: Aukland Zoo

Zookeeper Michelle Whybrow filmed the hatching of their second Kiwi chick of the season, also from a Tanekaha farm:


About the size of domestic chickens, Kiwis are flightless birds related to ostriches and emus. These shy, nocturnal birds are found only in New Zealand. All five species of Kiwi are decreasing in number, threatened by loss of habitat and by mammalian predators introduced by humans.  To learn more about the recovery effort coordinated by the BNZ Operation Nest Egg Program, click here

Rare Kiwi Hatches at Smithsonian National Zoo's Front Royal Facility

Nat Zoo Kiwi 1

In early February, the National Zoo's very successful Kiwi breeding program continued in their contributions to the conservation of this rare flightless bird hailing from New Zealand. The chick was born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Front Royal campus. The facility, which is not open to the public, is designed with the sole purpose of breeding rare and endangered species. 

Nat Zoo Kiwi 2

Nat Zoo Kiwi 3
Photo credits: Chris Crowe / Smithsonian National Zoo

The National Zoo is one of the foremost experts in the world when it comes to the breeding of Kiwis. Back in 1975, the zoo was the first facility outside of New Zealand to hatch one of these precious chicks. As experts, they are often tasked with helping with helping other zoos hatch their eggs. This chick came from an egg that was shipped over to their facility in January from the Columbus Zoo. 

Kiwis are difficult to sex, so researchers sent out shards of the egg shell for genetic testing to help make this determination. The results came's a girl! Caretakers have reported that this little girl is doing well. She is very active, eating and drinking well, and gaining weight each and every day. 

Rare White Kiwi Chick Hatches at Wildlife Sanctuary

Kiwi 1

New Zealand’s Pukaha Mount Bruce received an early Christmas present when their third white Kiwi chick hatched at the national wildlife center.

North Island Brown Kiwis with white plumage are extremely rare.  This chick is the third white Kiwi ever born in captivity, according to center officials. The center is the same nursery where Manukura, the first white Kiwi and Mauriora, a second white Kiwi, was hatched in December last year.

The staff knew that the eggs, which were collected from the wild, had come from Manukura’s brown-feathered father, so they knew there was a 25% possibility of another white Kiwi, but it still came as a surprise.

Kiwi number three


A small number of North Island Brown Kiwi carry the recessive white gene which both the male and female must have to produce a white chick.

All three white chicks have the same father, who has been identified through his transmitter. Though the identity of the mother can’t be told for certain, center staff assumes she is the same because of the rarity of the white gene. There is a one-in-four chance of such a pair producing a white chick.

Local Maori iwi Rangitane o Wairarapa are delighted that Pukaha Mount Bruce has been blessed a third time. “We have always known the reserve at Pukaha Mount Bruce is a very special and spiritual place, this third white Kiwi is confirmation of what we have always known,” Rangitane chief executive and Pukaha board member Jason Kerehi said. The iwi will name this special chick over the next few days.

This white Kiwi is the seventh Kiwi chick to have hatched at the centre so far this season, and many more are expected. Another egg currently incubating in the nursery is from the same nest as this white Kiwi chick, so there is a 25% chance of a fourth white chick.

Within the Pukaha Mount Bruce reserve, Kiwis live as they would in the wild, but all males are tracked with transmitters because they incubate the eggs.   Any eggs laid are taken to the center for incubation.  Chicks are hand-reared and returned to the forest when they are about eight months old. 

There are five species of Kiwi, all native to New Zealand, and all populations are declining.  To protect the wild birds, a number of conservation programs, like this one at Pukaha Mt Bruce, have been established.  These shy, nocturnal, flightless birds are the national symbol of New Zealand.

Photo Credit:  Pukaha Mount Bruce

A Snowy White Kiwi Hatches Just in Time for the Holidays


A second, rare, white Kiwi hatched on the morning of December 18 at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Willdlife Center. Like it's sibling, Manukura, this little one has received a special and meaningful name -- Mauriora, meaning ‘sustained life’. It hatched in the Wildlife Center's nursery, where Manukura – the world's first white kiwi hatched in captivity – came along in May. 

Called a powerful name by Rangitane chief executive and Pukaha board member Jason Kerehi, he added, "This new kiwi is seen as an assurance that we are blessed with more than one special creature and there is potential for more."

Conservation Department captive breeding ranger Darren Page said it was pretty unusual that two kiwis with the rare gene to produce white chicks had managed to find eachother and mate within the 940-hectare Pukaha forest - not even once, but twice over two seasons! "Both white birds have the same father, who we have identified through his transmitter," he added. "We can't identify the mother but assume she is the same because of the rarity of the white gene."

Eleven kiwi have hatched at the center so far this season and of the two kiwi eggs incubating in the nursery, one is from the same nest as Mauriora. Keepers are waiting to see what that brings.


Photo Credit: Mike Haydon and Pukaha Mount Bruce National Willdlife Center

Find more pictures and information after the jump.

Continue reading "A Snowy White Kiwi Hatches Just in Time for the Holidays" »

Three Wee Kiwi - A First in North America

Kiwi #3

A third Kiwi chick hatched at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Jul. 17, marking the first time an institution in North America has successfully hatched three kiwi in one year. The Columbus Zoo’s first hatching of the North Island brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) occurred less than four months ago on March 23, while the second hatched on June 25, 2011.

This newest little chick, a female, is currently being cared for behind-the-scenes. The first two chicks are both males and have been given names reflecting their native New Zealand; “Ariki” (ah-ree-kee), meaning first-born or chie,f and “Toa” (to-ah) meaning warrior. The oldest of the chicks, Ariki, can be seen in the Zoo’s Roadhouse nocturnal habitat for a few hours each day.

Only seven kiwis, including the three at the Columbus Zoo, have hatched in the past five years in North America. The Columbus Zoo is only the third zoo in North America to successfully hatch a kiwi chick since the first one hatched at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 1975. There are now six kiwis at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and a total of 22 kiwis in three United States zoos.

 3 Kiwi 78 - G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Yello Kiwi 71- G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Photo Credit: Grahm Jones/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Continue reading "Three Wee Kiwi - A First in North America" »