The kiwi bird, native to New Zealand, is considered a biological oddity: the birds cannot fly, have heavy, muscular legs, and their plumage is thicker and more hairlike than typical feathers. This unique bird is so closely associated with the country, however, that New Zealanders are often referred to as “Kiwis.” In fact, New Zealanders love the kiwi bird so much that it is used as a national symbol, both officially and unofficially. It appears on the New Zealand dollar coin, which is often informally called a kiwi, and, rather ironically, this flightless bird appears on the official logo of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
More about the kiwi:
- Unlike most birds, kiwis have a strong sense of smell, due to nostrils located on their beaks. This allows them to sniff out worms in the ground to eat.
- As of 2016, the kiwi population is estimated to be about 68,000 and is declining at a rate of 2% per year, primarily due to predators and habitat loss.
- Proportionally, kiwis lay the largest eggs of any bird species, at approximately 20% of their body weight.