Kiwi Facts

  • There are three species of kiwi, found only in New Zealand. All are flightless birds that live in burrows. The female dwarf cassowary, or moruk, is an extremely dangerous bird and will attack anything that comes near its nest with its 10-cm long claws. The three species of cassowary live in rainforests in New Zealand and northeastern Australia. Largest of its family is the brown kiwi, which is about 55 cm long and weighs up to 3.5 kg.
  • Only the kiwi has nostrils at the end of its beak.
  • The kiwi is the national symbol of New Zealand, appearing on stamps, coins and banknotes.
  • Cassowaries in Australia are known to eat the fruits of at least 75 different types of tree.
  • The female cassowary mates with several males, laying 6-8 eggs each time. The males care for the young.
  • About 1200 years ago there were probably 12 million kiwis in New Zealand. Today there are only 70,000.
  • The nocturnal kiwi’s good sense of smell helps it to find worms, insects and spiders in the ground at night.
  • A kiwi lays the largest eggs for its size of any bird – each egg weighs 25% of its body weight. Females lay up to 100 in a lifetime.