The New Zealand kiwi is a real oddity, a strange bird with mammalian features. Kiwi occur in the North Island, South Island and Stewart Island, and there are five different species.
The Stewart Island Tokoeka has a population of around 15,000 and is probably the least threatened in New Zealand. A heavy kiwi, the females weigh around 3.5 kgs and the males around 2.5 kgs. But they are only second in weight to the Great Spotted Kiwi found in the South Island.
Kiwi exist throughout Stewart Island, from sea level to alpine tops, but some areas are more productive in terms of food sources. Kiwi are sometimes seen in the only village "Oban", but sightings are few and infrequent.
Your best chances of seeing a kiwi is to hike the backcountry trails (for the fit and active) and/or take part in a guiding kiwi spotting tour. Seeing a kiwi in the daytime is a special experience.
The kiwi was an unusual bird to choose as New Zealand's national icon, but as you get to know more about this very unusual country, it all makes sense.
Have you got a great story to tell? Add your own article