Babies on the way at Shakespear

Publish Date : 22 Nov 2017
Babies on the way at Shakespear
Little spotted kiwi chick - photo by Andrew Digby

Auckland Council’s northern park rangers have got eggsactly what they were hoping for – a new generation of little spotted kiwi on the way.

Spotting the egg

Senior Ranger Matt Maitland says an egg was located in Shakespear Open Sanctuary following routine monitoring of the little spotted kiwi, which were reintroduced into the park back in April.

“We observed via radio signal that several of the kiwi have paired up and are nesting. The signal for one bird hadn’t moved in a while so we went to check everything was ok,” he says.

"When we shone a light down the burrow, we spotted the egg. We retreated so as to not disturb the burrow and have since confirmed the egg is still being incubated.”

Breeding season at the sanctuary

Unlike many other bird species, kiwi are monogamous and tend to mate for life. The main breeding season runs from July to January and kiwi may lay one to two eggs in a clutch. Only the male little spotted kiwi incubates the egg.

Matt says the incubation period lasts approximately 65-75 days.

“All things going well, we should see a little spotted kiwi chick in mid-January.”

Although the survival of the egg is not guaranteed, it has a stronger chance of survival within the pest-free environment of the sanctuary.

The previous breeding experience of the parents also plays a role in the survival of the egg.

“Young birds tend not to be as successful as kiwi who have reproduced before.”

Matt says the fact that the kiwi are nesting is evidence that the birds have successfully settled into their new home.

The council hopes to release a further 20 little spotted kiwi to Shakespear Open Sanctuary over the next few years to help increase the gene pool of the founder population.  

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