Kiwi, or Apteryx, a flightless bird found in the evergreen forests of New Zealand. There are three species: the brown kiwi, the great spotted kiwi, and the little spotted kiwi. The name kiwi comes from the bird's shrill whistle, which sounds like "kee-wee.''
The kiwi is the size of a small chicken. It has thick, strong legs which it uses to dig burrows, where it rests during the day. It is covered with long, hairlike reddish-brown to black feathers. The kiwi is the only bird with nostrils at the tip of its bill. Its keen sense of smell and sensitive tactile bristles at the base of the bill are used to locate worms and insects. The bill is often used to probe for food.The kiwi is a small, flightless bird the size of a small chicken.
The female lays one or two whitish-green eggs in the burrow. Each egg weighs about one pound (450 g)—one-fourth the weight of the adult female. The eggs hatch in 75 to 80 days, with the male sitting on them to incubate them. Kiwis reach adulthood when they are three to four years old. The kiwi had few natural enemies until settlers introduced weasels, cats, and dogs into New Zealand.
The largest kind of kiwi is only 22 inches (56 centimeters) in length, not including its long beak. Kiwis have no tails, and their feathers look like hair. Their beaks are long, thin, and flexible. Perhaps oddest of all, their nostrils are located at the tips of their bills—not the tops.
People rarely see kiwis in the wild. That’s because kiwis sleep during the day in burrows and come out only at night. When feeding, they poke their beaks into the ground in search of their favorite foods— worms and other invertebrates, or animals without backbones. Having nostrils at the ends of their beaks helps kiwis smell where these animals are hiding.
The brown kiwi is Apteryx australis; the great spotted, A. haasti; the little spotted, A. oweni. Kiwis belong to the family Apterygidae.