AboutZoos, Since 2008


First kiwi ever hatched in Avi­fauna Bird Park in the Netherlands

pub­lished 12 Octo­ber 2018 | mod­i­fied 12 Octo­ber 2018

Yes­ter­day, Avi­fauna Bird Park in the Nether­lands announced a North Island brown kiwi has hatched as part of a world­wide breed­ing pro­gramme on 18 Sep­tem­ber — a Nether­lands’ first. Avi­fauna didn’t announce the new arrival until it had sur­vived its first cru­cial weeks when a lot can go wrong, but the ani­mal is in per­fect health. ‘The birth of a kiwi chick is very spe­cial, espe­cially since there are only 60 kiwis in zoos out­side New Zealand,’ zoo keeper Den­nis Appels told the press.

North Island brown kiwi avifauna brid parkFirst kiwi ever hatched in the Nether­lands, at Avi­fauna Bird Park in Alphen aan den Rijn, 18 Sep­tem­ber 2018.
Image: Avi­fauna

The Dutch Bird Park is one of 16 zoos in the world to con­tribute to a cap­tive breed­ing pro­gramme of zoo­log­i­cal insti­tu­tions for the North Island brown kiwi out­side New Zealand, the only coun­try the kiwi can be found in the wild and which has its own cap­tive man­age­ment plan for this native flight­less bird. Avi­fauna is the only zoo to have pro­duced a kiwi chick this year. ‘The secret is a solic­i­tous father and peace and quiet,’ Appels said, indi­cat­ing that tak­ing care of the brood is left to the male. It is not yet known what sex the chick is. This will be deter­mined by a DNA test on the animal’s feath­ers in a few weeks’ time.

Dur­ing a press moment, in the pres­ence of New Zealand’s ambas­sador to the Nether­lands Lyn­dal Walker, the kiwi’s name was announced — Tuatahi. In hon­our of New Zealand’s orig­i­nal inhab­i­tants it is a Maori name, and it means the first, or the first one, reflect­ing its significance.

From Sat­ur­day 13 Octo­ber the kiwi chick will be pub­licly weighed and mea­sured for the rest of the month every day at 14:00 hrs, to allow the pub­lic to see the new arrival, for spot­ting a kiwi in their enclo­sure, Night Safari — the noc­tur­nal house, is not easy.

Kiwi’s in cap­tiv­ity
The first recorded captive-​held kiwi was in 1851, when female brown kiwi arrived at the Zoo­log­i­cal Soci­ety of Lon­don. They lived for sev­eral years and pro­duced eggs.
In 1912, a wild-​caught brown kiwi first appeared on records at Welling­ton Zoo.
The first record of a brown kiwi chick hatch­ing in cap­tiv­ity was in 1945, at the Hawke’s Bay Accli­ma­ti­sa­tion Society’s game farm, near Napier, New Zealand.
The first kiwi to be dis­played in noc­tur­nal houses were brown kiwi, dis­played at Auck­land Zoo and Otoro­hanga in 1972, while in 1975 the Smithsonian’s National Zoo­log­i­cal Park was host to the first kiwi born out­side New Zealand.
The first arti­fi­cially incu­bated full-​term brown kiwi egg hatched at Otoro­hanga, in 1977.
In the 1990s, Oper­a­tion Nest Egg was first used to bring wild-​laid eggs into cap­tiv­ity. The first release of sub-​adult brown kiwi in the wild was achieved in 1995. A more com­plete his­tory can be found in the Cap­tive Man­age­ment Plan for Kiwi.

The kiwi and its con­ser­va­tion sta­tus
Kiwi are flight­less birds, hav­ing only ves­ti­gial wings and no exter­nal tail. Brown kiwi males aver­age 2.2 kg in weight and females 2.8 kg, length is 4555 cm. They are largely noc­tur­nal and make loud, far-​carrying repeated shrill (male) or gut­tural (female) calls, mainly in the 2 hours after dark and again before dawn. Day­time dens and nests are made in bur­rows, hol­low logs or under dense veg­e­ta­tion. The kiwi egg is excep­tion­ally large at about 1520% of the female body weight. The incu­ba­tion period for a kiwi egg is also long, around 80 days, with the incu­ba­tion car­ried out by the male where it con­cerns the brown kiwi.

Unlike most birds kiwi have an excep­tional sense of smell, with nos­trils uniquely placed near the tip of their long (65155 mm) bill. The bill is used for prob­ing for food, not defence, and has spe­cial­ized vibration/​pressure-​sensing nerve end­ings at its tip to detect prey move­ment. The birds are strong run­ners and are capa­ble of swim­ming rivers. Kiwi have a lower body tem­per­a­ture than most birds (3738˚C).

The pop­u­la­tion of North Island brown kiwi in the wild have decreased through a com­bi­na­tion of habi­tat loss and pre­da­tion by mam­malian preda­tors, espe­cially dogs, fer­rets and stoats, for which the flight­less birds are an easy catch. The North Island brown kiwi (Apteryx man­telli) is clas­si­fied as Vul­ner­a­ble by the IUCN Red List of Threat­ened Species™. There are an esti­mated 68,000 of these birds left in the wild.

(Source: Avi­fauna Bird Park news release, 11.10.2018; Dutch​News​.nl news, 11.10.2018; Smith­son­ian National Zoo­log­i­cal Park; Kiwis for kiwi, cap­tive facil­i­ties; Zoo & Aquar­ium Asso­ci­a­tion brown kiwi fact sheet)

UN Biodiversity decade
WWF Stop Wildlife Crime
Fight for Flight campaign
End Ivory-funded Terrorism
Support Rewilding Europe
NASA State of Flux

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
Fol­low me on: