Kiwis are natives of New Zealand, where they adapted to a flightless life, occupying the niche of mammals (in islands that were devoid of mammals before the European settlers arrived). The smallest of all ratites (ostrich, emu, cassowaries, and rheas) they have only vestigial wings, around 5 cm (2 in.) in length, totally useless for flying. The genus name, Apteryx, means "wing-less" in Greek. The kiwi is the only bird that has nostrils at the end of its bill, and it has a very developed sense of smell, contrary to most other birds. Brown kiwis are still widespread in the central and northern North Island of New Zealand.They are nocturnal, and their call can be heard usually an hour after dusk, and an hour before dawn. They live in pairs and mate for life. The pair will meet in the nesting burrow every few days and sing to each other at night. The male brown kiwi does most of the egg incubating.
The above picture (showing a not live specimen and its egg) was taken at the Chicago Brookfield zoo, in August 2004.
Life on Earth