Kiwi’s are weird


(17 november 2017) At the other side of the Tasman no snakes and Aussies, but many kiwi’s and Kiwi’s. The kiwi birds, Apterix in latin, are under severe threat of extinction, mainly because of the rising population of Kiwi humans.

Kiwi in nocturnal house

Therefore, wild encounters with this prehistoric bird are extremely rare. The nocturnal house of the Christchurch zoo – no flash photography – informs that kiwi’s may be extinct in 2020 due to land clearing, wild dogs and cats and ferrets. Kiwi are part of a diverse group of largely flightless birds known as ‘ratites’, like ostriches, cassowaries, emu’s and the now extinct New Zealand moa. It is not clear whether all ratites evolved from one ancestor, or in parallel evolutionary lines. All ratites are ‘palaeognaths’, essentially meaning that they are the only birds with their nostrils in the front end of their beaks.
“I am an apteryx, a flightless bird with hairy feathers”.
To anyone familiar with the comic “BC” by Johnny Hart this sentence is iconic, always said by the bird starring in Hart’s creations. I always thought the word ‘Apteryx’ was made up, till this visit to Kiwi-land. I end this post with a few examples.