The Brown Kiwi is the only kiwi found in the wild in the North Island and at the last count, in 2017, it was thought 50 – 60 Western Brown Kiwi were living on Mt Taranaki. The flightless birds forage for food at night and are not often seen, however you may hear them on the Mounga. Males give a repeated high-pitched rising whistle and females a deeper throaty cry.

Listen to them here

Kiwi: Male North Island brown kiwi song (MP3, 558K) (opens in new window)

Kiwi: Female North Island brown kiwi song (MP3, 2252K) (opens in new window)

There are four geographical forms of the brown kiwi, each with slight genetic variation: Northland, Coromandel, Eastern and Western. Kiwi are very unique as they are only bird to have nostrils at the end of their very long bill. They use the nostrils to sniff out small invertebrates like earthworms, cicadas and moths. They also eat centipedes, spiders, crickets, weta, and fallen fruit. Unlike other bird’s kiwi live in underground burrows, using its strong legs and beak to dig the ground. Their feathers are more like hair, they have marrow in their bones and they are the only bird in the world with no tail.

Taranaki Mounga are supporting the Taranaki Kiwi Trust (TKT) in their great work restoring the Taranaki kiwi population. TKT plan to release 10-20 Western Brown Kiwi on the mountain in 2017. The birds will have transmitters attached allowing the birds to be monitored by plane. Along with Kiwis for kiwi , Taranaki Mounga has helped purchase a ‘Sky Ranger’ box, to perform this aerial monitoring. The box collects a large amount of information such as location, habitat range and nesting data without disturbing the birds.

Did you know

  • The kiwi dad sits on the nest for 80 days
  • Kiwi smell – unfortunately dogs find them irresistible
  • Kiwi first appeared on earth 8 million years ago and have not changed since – they are like living fossils
  • When pregnant, the stomach of the female kiwi stretches so much that it touches the ground

Photo Dick Veitch