The national bird of New Zealand, the kiwi is a small, flightless and rather unusual bird. Due to the destruction of its natural habitat by deforestation and the devastation of the population by predators, this nocturnal bird is not often seen in the wild. However, there are a number of places where kiwis can still be seen.
The best places are special 'houses' that simulate the dark, damp conditions of the forest at night where they naturally forage. It's well worth stopping at one of these for a glimpse of this fascinating bird.
It's also possible to find kiwis in their natural habitat in the wild, although this is rather more difficult and obviously not guaranteed.
Here is a list of kiwi houses and sanctuaries where the kiwi can be seen. Most also have active breeding and hatching programs and offer information and tours about this fascinating creature. Click on the highlighted title for more information on each.
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This is a very interesting place to visit in Northland for discovering some of New Zealand's unique wildlife. In addition to the kiwi, you will also find the tuatara (a native reptile dating back to the time of the dinosaurs) and the morepork (ruru), New Zealand's native owl. Also, enjoy the adjacent Whangarei Museum and a 25-hectare Heritage Park.
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This is an important research and breeding center for kiwis as well as for seeing kiwis in both indoor and outdoor enclosures.
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Te Puia Kiwi House (Rotorua, North Island)
This is one of the oldest kiwi houses in New Zealand. It is part of the impressive Te Puia complex in the geothermal Te Whakarewarewa Valley in Rotorua, which includes a number of other natural and cultural attractions.Continue to 5 of 14 below.
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The kiwi house here is part of a wildlife sanctuary concentrating on breeding programs for some of New Zealand's most endangered birds. In addition to the kiwi (they successfully bred the only known example of a white kiwi in 2011), others include the black teal, kakariki, kokako, stitchbirds and takahe. There are also native forest walks, guided tours, and educational displays.
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In addition to the nocturnal kiwi house, Willowbrook features a series of pathways and trails showing a wide range of animals and birds that inhabit the New Zealand landscape. There is also a replica of a pre-European Maori village and various tours and events.
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Fancy feeding some eels that are up to 100 years old? It's one of the things available to do here, as well as see the kiwi and the tuatara.
West Coast Wildlife Centre (Franz Josef, West Coast, South Island)
This is one of the newest kiwi houses in New Zealand. It is also home to a breeding program for the rarest of the five kiwi species, the Southern Tokoeka Kiwi.
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Kiwis in the Wild
It is possible to observe kiwis in the wild in some places in New Zealand. For a list of the most accessible see:
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Seeing Kiwis Outside New Zealand
The following zoos around the world are also places where you can see the kiwi bird on display:
- San Diego Zoo, California, USA
- Columbus Zoo, Columbus, Ohio, USA
- Smithsonian National Zoo, Washington DC, USA
- Osaka Municipal Zoo, Japan
- Frankfurt Zoo, Germany
- Zoologischer Garten, Berlin, Germany
- Vogelpark, Walsrode, Germany
- Alphen Zoo, The Netherlands
- Antwerp Zoo, Belgium