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Brown Kiwi

Is that creature really a bird?
© Tourism New Zealand View Large

Kiwis are so unlike other birds that they've been called "honorary mammals." Kiwis cannot fly, having evolved in New Zealand's island environment without mammalian predators. The only bird to have nostrils at the end of its beak, the kiwi snuffles and snorts as it probes the forest floor for worms and insects. Find out about Kiwi conservation at SaveThe Kiwi.

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Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Brown Kiwi

By Frances Wood

This is BirdNote!
Have you ever wondered how a rarely seen, nocturnal, flightless, muddy brown bird could become a national icon?  [Kiwi calling] As you listen to the haunting, high-pitched, screeching of a New Zealand kiwi, imagine a fluffy, egg-shaped bird with sturdy legs and a long, probing beak.
Kiwis are so unlike other birds that they’ve been called “honorary mammals.” Kiwis cannot fly, having evolved in New Zealand’s island environment without mammalian predators. Because their feathers don’t need to support flight, they hang loose like hair, serving as effective camouflage. [More Kiwi calling]
That’s the Brown Kiwi calling a couple hours after dusk as it leaves its burrow. The bird’s night-time feeding habits allow it to occupy a niche normally filled by hedgehogs and anteaters. The only bird to have nostrils at the end of its beak, the kiwi snuffles and snorts as it probes the forest floor for worms and insects.
And even though very, very few New Zealanders have ever seen their national symbol in the wild, they proudly call themselves Kiwis. [More Kiwi calling]
The BirdNote team is grateful to BirdNote's benefactors, who through their goodwill and philanthropy, are making it possible for people to connect with nature. Would you like to become a benefactor? Learn how at our website birdnote.org.
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Call of the Brown Kiwi provided by Martyn Stewart, naturesound.org
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2010 Tune In to Nature.org         March 2010

ID# 030807kiwiKPLU        kiwi-01

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