The flightless kiwi is shy and secretive, yet also feisty and territorial. Adults protect their territories by calling to each other, and will also fight off intruders.

They feed on the ground at night, using nostrils at the end of their long beak to help sniff out grubs and worms deep in the leaf litter, as well as berries and fallen fruit.

Kiwi have two layers of feathers - a layer of soft downy feathers for warmth, and an outer layer to keep the rain out.

Female kiwi lay enormous eggs - in fact, they have one of the highest egg-to-body-weight ratios of any bird - an ostrich egg weighs only 2% of the female's body weight, whereas a kiwi egg weighs up to 20%.

Auckland Zoo is proud to be part of the Department of Conservation's kiwi recovery programme called Operation Nest Egg (O.N.E). This programme involves taking kiwi eggs from the wild, hatching them at the Zoo, and then keeping them on predator-free islands until they are grown, before releasing them into the wild.

Video

Operation Nest Egg

Watch our kiwi Zoo Tales trilogy - showing the journey of an Operation Nest Egg kiwi, from egg, to hatch, to release.