Photo in the News: Rare Kiwi Bird Hatches at U.S. Zoo

Photo of Kiwi Bird
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February 17, 2006—This North Island brown kiwi hatched at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., this week—only the second of these rare birds to hatch during the zoo's 116-year history.

Kiwi chicks hatch fully feathered with their eyes open and begin foraging for small worms and berries after their first week of life, since they receive no help from their parents.

The kiwi hatched on Monday, February 13, weighing in at 9.7 ounces (275 grams) after 64 days of incubation. Zoo staff monitored the egg each day, by weighing it and using a bright light to illuminate the egg's interior.

The National Zoo is one of just four zoos in the world to breed kiwis outside of New Zealand. In 1975 the National Zoo was the first institution outside of New Zealand to hatch a kiwi. That 30-year-old bird is still on exhibit at the zoo's Bird House.

The five recognized species of kiwis are all flightless, nocturnal, burrowing birds that are unique to New Zealand. North Island brown kiwis are listed as endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

—David Braun

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