Little spotted Kiwi

The little grey Kiwi was first described in 1847 by John Gould from a specimen obtained by F. Strang. The locality is not recorded but probably it came from Nelson or Marlborough.

In 1873, Henry Potts published an account of its habits and about this time specimens were collected in South Westland and sent to England. At that time the species was common on the western side of the South Island and in Marlborough.

Then a regular trade in skins sprang up and large numbers were collected for European museums. Further, with the advance of European settlement, birds were killed by prospectors and others for food and their attendant dogs and cats took their toll on this, the smallest of the Kiwis.

Little spotted kiwi juvenile
Sub Species:

Song of the:  —  Little spotted Kiwi

 McPherson Natural History Unit

Other common names:  — 

Kiwi puku–puku.

Description:  — 

Endemic bird

30 cm., male 1150 g., female 1325 g., brownish grey mottled or banded with white, long ivory bill.

Where to find:  — 

Kapiti Island, Red Mercury Island, Hen Island, Tiritiri Matangi Island, Karori Sanctuary, Long Island in the Queen Charlotte Sound.

Poetry:  — 

Under the roots of a tree,
Hidden, oh hidden deep,
Safe from the prying sun,
Huddled the Kiwis sleep.

But when the night flies down,
And stars slip through the pool,
Out from the roots they creep,
Into the twilight cool.

And the oldest bird of the tribe,
Calls them before his face,
And tells from his proud old beak,
The wonder of their race.

Children, who now are small,
Hearken, oh hearken well,
For you are kin of kings,
Hatched of a mighty shell.

Dwarfs of a giant strain,
Leaves of a smitten tree,
Shards of a dying star,
Kin of the Moa, we.

So when ye thrid the swamp,
Cool on the twilight term,
Spearing the secret earth,
For stir of the hidden worm.

Remember our lonely pride,
So old that no man knows
Where or whence we have come,
Old as the wind that blows.

Old as the twilight sky,
Hearken, oh Kiwis well,
For ye are kin of kings,
Hatched of a mighty shell.

 — Eileen Duggan

Illustration description: — 


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

Reference(s): — 


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

Page date & version: — 


Tuesday, 2 July 2019; ver2009v1


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