Coronavirus: How to spot a kiwi when you’re a Kiwi in lockdown

Ornithophobics, look away. You live in a nation of twitchers. Every New Zealander has their favourite, our national identity hinges on a surprisingly aggressive flightless one, and we host an annual favourites competition that’s taken so seriously, it makes the international news.

Anyway, our feathered friends are very special to us in New Zealand, because we have such special feathered friends.

But these shy creatures (I’m not talking to you, pūkeko) are actually easier to spot from the comfort of home than the great outdoors. Here’s how.

Zealandia, Wellington

This week, Wellington’s wonderful Zealandia launched a new virtual project – a Google Earth tour of Zealandia’s 225ha site . Visitors can “walk” the site, and click markers to explore in more details. Learn about the success of the kākā (these beautiful parrots, once extinct in the area, are now common sights in Wellington), the rākau rangatira/chiefly trees throughout the site, and the rare species that live safe within the site’s 8.5km predator-proof fence.

Pūkaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, Masterton

near Masterton is a captive breeding centre for some of our most threatened birds. It’s home to Manukura, the famous white kiwi, as well as takahē, kākā, kōkako and more. Just this week the centre announced it has successfully bred kākāriki karaka for the first time. There are just 300 of these precious birds left, so the four recent fledglings are a huge win. The centre also has several great social feeds – recent Facebook updates include the fact that takahē produce about 7m of poo a day (best bird fact ever), and

is full of rare parrots eating fruit salads and kiwi spooning each other.

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