How to find a kiwi in the wild
The kiwi is New Zealand’s gorgeous, flightless icon, but very few New Zealanders can actually claim they’ve seen one anywhere but in a zoo.
If you’re looking to spot a kiwi in the wild, try these tips!
Go to the right places
For a start, you’ll need to be in an area where kiwis are known to live. They prefer remote forest areas where they can scurry around looking for food, and nest in areas hidden away from plain sight.
Near Auckland, one of the best places is the Tawharanui Open Sanctuary, as this fenced-off area contains no pests or predators that will harm kiwi or other endangered wildlife. You can also try the Trounson Kauri Park in Northland, Aroha Island in Kerikeri, Okatiro in Franz Joseph, Tuatapere in Southland or on Stewart Island to name a few.
Don’t scare the kiwi away
Even when you’re in an area with kiwis all around you, you might never know it, as these birds are notoriously shy and hard to spot. Therefore, the trick is to not scare them away before you get a chance to see one.
Firstly, go at night-time as this is when the nocturnal kiwis are active. You may bring a torch (flashlight), but keep it off as much as possible and cover the light with red cellophane to avoid shining too much brightness into the bushes. Wear clothing that doesn’t make too much noise when you move, and walk extremely slowly and quietly, looking into the bushes around you for movement.
Take a tour
If you’re really keen to see a kiwi in the wild, one of the best (and easiest) ways is to take a tour. The day-night eco tours to Tawharanui with Habitat Tours often include kiwi sightings – roughly 70 per cent of the time in fact.
Your experienced guide will help give you the best chance of seeing a kiwi, and will tell you all about this wonderful bird as well!
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist