Okarito kiwi are flightless birds from New Zealand. They are greyish in color, often with white patches around the face. These birds are adapted to live on the ground and have powerful legs and long curved bills. Nostrils located on the tip of the bill provide kiwi with an acute sense of smell; this helps the birds to find food as they have very poor eyesight.
Okarito kiwi are usually solitary and spend time in pairs only during the breeding season. They are very territorial and defend their territories with calls, chases, and may even fight with intruders. During the day, Okarito kiwi rest in their burrows, hollow log, or under thick vegetation. At night, they come out to feed. Kiwi feed by walking slowly around tapping the ground and use their scenting skills or feel vibrations caused by the movement of their prey. To communicate with each other, these birds use growls, hisses, and bill snapping.
Okarito kiwi are carnivores and feed on earthworms, larvae of beetles, moths, cicadas, spiders, crickets, and freshwater crayfish. They may also occasionally eat fallen fruit and leaves.
Okarito kiwi are monogamous and form pairs for life. They usually breed between June and February and may produce two clutches per year. The female lays 1 egg in a nest located in the burrow and both the male and the female incubate it for 65 to 90 days. The egg is very large, as it weighs 20% of the female's weight (as in all kiwi). The chick is hatched fully feathered and is able to leave the nest to feed itself. After 2-7 weeks the young will become independent but remain with the parents for 4-5 years.
The main threats to Okarito kiwi include habitat loss and predation by introduced stoats. They also suffer from road collisions and from the predation of cats, dogs and introduced possums, which often enter burrows to steal eggs and chicks.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total Okarito kiwi population size is around 350-400 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) but its numbers today are increasing.