Kiwi (Little spotted kiwi) Apteryx owenii
Species: A. owenii
Binomial name: Apteryx owenii
Common name: Little spotted kiwi, Little gray kiwi
Apteryx owenii is a small species of kiwi originally from New Zealand's South Island They used to live near Marlborough and where the Southern brown kiwi currently lives. There was a little-known North Island little spotted kiwi, A. o. iredalei but it became extinct in the late 19th century. Around 1890 to 1910 a population of Apteryx owenii was trans-located from Marlborough to Kapiti Island for conservation purposes.
Little spotted kiwis are the smallest species of kiwi about the size of a bantam with a length of 35 to 45 cm. The weight of the male is 0.9 to 1.3 kg and the female weighs 1 to 1.9 kg. Their feathers are pale-mottled grey, with fine white mottling, and are shaggy looking.[ They lack aftershafts and barbules. They have large vibrissae feathers around the gape. They lack a tail, but have a small pygostyle (a triangular plate formed of the fused caudal vertebrae supporting the tail feathers). Their bill is ivory coloured and it is long with nostils at the end. The kiwi is the only bird in the world with external nostrils at the tip of its long beak. The kiwi’s eyesight is not great so the parts of it brain that is devoted to smell and touch are large. These help the kiwi to locate food beneath the soil and leaf litter.
After they were released on Kapiti Island, they were also moved to Red Mercury Island, Hen Island, Tiritiri Matangi Island, and Long Island in the Queen Charlotte Sound. In 2000, about 20 little spotted kiwis were released into Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. This was the first time since about 1900 that little spotted kiwis could be found on the mainland of New Zealand. Studies on Kapiti Island show that they prefer flax, seral, and older forest habitats. Lower numbers are found in rough grassland and scrub, indicating that either they prefer other habitats or they simply need a larger territory to support themselves in these areas.
Little spotted kiwis eat grubs and other small insects that are found underground, and occasionally eat berries. Hence the sharp talons and long beak, it digs into the ground with its talons then shoves its long beak down the soft ground. Since they can't fly to get to insects or food on trees and their eyesight is very poor they depend on a keen sense of smell, long beak and talons.
They nest in an excavated burrow, dug by both birds and sometimes line the nest with plant material. The clutch size is one to two eggs (15% have 2), and are incubated by the male for a period of 63–76 days. After hatching they stay in the nest for 2–3 weeks and require feeding for 4 weeks. The largest egg in comparison with the size of the bird is laid by the little spotted kiwi. Its egg accounts for 26 percent of its own weight—the equivalent of a human woman giving birth to a six-year-old child.
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