Southern Brown Kiwi - Apteryx australis
Southern Brown Kiwi - Apteryx australis

Southern Brown Kiwi - Apteryx australis

Kiwis are the smallest member of the Ratite family and the only Nocturnal ones.

The 5 species of kiwi are found only in New Zealand where they are carefully protected, like most animals Native to New Zealand, Kiwis evolved in isolation which makes them superbly adapted to their environment but very vulnerable to change.

Kiwis don't see well and actually have the smallest eyes relative to their body size of all birds but they have several other amazing adaptations which allow them to find their food and navigate under the cover of darkness.

Despite being the smallest Ratite (roughly the size of a chicken) they lay the biggest egg relative to their body size of any bird... roughly six times larger than you'd expect for a bird of its size. 

A kiwi's egg is so large in fact that up about 20% of the mother’s body, to put that in context, a human baby just before it's born accounts for only 5% of its mother’s body weight.

Like all Ratites, they cannot fly and in the case of the kiwi, their wings have shrunk to the point of almost being nonexistent.

- What adaptations do Kiwis have to help them find their food at night?
- Most Ratites lay their eggs in nests on the ground but Kiwis don't where do they lay theirs?
- Of the 5 species of Kiwi, which is the largest and which is the smallest?
- What are the biggest threats they face?

Things to consider colouring your Kiwi

- Kiwis are brown but not all the same brown... their feathers are lighter at the top and darker closer to the body.
- If you don't have more than one brown pencil / pen you can mix up your own browns using yellows, pinks, reds & purples, just remember to colour lightly to build the colours up... if you go too dark too early, you can't add more colour.

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To learn more about this species and hundreds of others, check out my books Hidden Planet and Sensational Butterflies, available from Ladybird books.
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