Great spotted Kiwi

Though many stories regarding a large Kiwi, called by the Maori Roaroa, were current prior to 1871, it was not until that year two specimens were received from Westland at the Canterbury Museum. Potts immediately recognised them as belonging to an undescribed species and named them in honour of Dr. Haast, the curator of the museum.

These kiwis live in tough subalpine conditions. They are found in north-west Nelson, the Paparoa Ranges and the Southern Alps between Arthur's Pass and Lake Sumner, and Little Barrier Island. In 2002 it was estimated that 17,000 remained.

Because adult Great Spotted Kiwis are large and powerful, they are able to fend off most predators, such as stoats, ferrets, possums and cats. However, dogs are able to kill even adults. Stoats, ferrets, possums, cats and dogs will feed on the eggs and chicks, 95% of which die within their first five months of life.

Great spottedKiwi
Sub Species: 

Song:  — 

 McPherson Natural History Unit

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Other common names:  — 

Roroa, Roa.

Description:  — 

Endemic bird

45 cm., male 2.4 kg., female 3.3 kg., light brownish grey tinged with chestnut, mottled or banded with white, large ivory bill.

Where to find:  — 

North-west Nelson to the Buller River, Northern West Coast, The Southern Alps Between Arthur’s Pass and Lake Sumner.

Illustration description: — 


Rowley, G.D., Ornithological Miscellany, 1875-78.

Buller, Walter Lawry, Birds of New Zealand, Supplement, 1905.

Reference(s): — 


Oliver, W.R.B., New Zealand Birds, 1955.

Page date & version: — 


Tuesday, 9 August, 2011; ver2009v1


©  2005    Narena Olliver,    new zealand birds limited,     Greytown, New Zealand.

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