The Big 5 in Africa – the Little ‘Kiwi’ in New Zealand.
Elusive, nocturnal, endangered and add to that a bird that can’t fly!
Seeing a kiwi in the wild is on the ‘must see’ list for many visitors coming to NZ.
New Zealanders are very happy to call themselves ‘kiwis’ and have a genuine affection for this interesting bird, however most have never seen one in the wild.
It is therefore a real pleasure and privilege to be out in the bush and have a real kiwi encounter. As dusk moves into darkness the distinctive call of the kiwi can be heard in areas where it is present. For the lucky being in the right place at the right time, being patient and a little knowledge from your guide means that you have a good chance of a sighting. Listening for the distinctive snuffing, however sometimes they can sound like a heavy-footed man rather than a small bird, apparently unaware, or unconcerned, about the onlookers.
On our night tours, here at Habitat Tours, we have been lucky to have a few sightings recently on our night walks. Our small groups huddle together in the darkness, with much anticipation, and have been rewarded with seeing kiwis going about their foraging while we discreetly watch with our soft red lights. Having knowledge of their territory helps to increase the chances of seeing our national icon in the wild. Habitat Tours run a day/night tour to Tawharanui where you have the opportunity to see the North Island brown kiwi along with some of New Zealand’s other nocturnal wildlife – a truly different and enchanting experience.
No guarantees – but the searching and anticipation is half the fun and there’s plenty more birdlife and interesting critters, which we can guarantee you’ll see.
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist