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Watch a Kiwi Chick Hatching

A kiwi’s egg weighs about 15 percent of the female’s body weight

smithsonian.com

Kiwis are strange little birds. They’re flightless, nocturnal creatures with loose feathers that look a lot like hair. Kiwis also have one of the largest egg-to-body ratios of any other bird out there. A kiwi’s egg weighs about 15 percent of the female’s body weight. An ostrich’s egg, for comparison, only weighs two percent of the female’s weight. 

In the video above, you can see one of those giant eggs hatching. According to the blog The Kids Should See This, “This is the season’s second hatchling for BNZ Operation Nest Egg, a program that collects the eggs of endangered and critically endangered wild kiwi. Hatched and protected until they are big enough to return to their native populations, this process has increased their chance of surviving to adulthood to 65%, up from just 5% in the wild.”

Now that this little bird is out of its egg, it will stay in the captive rearing facility for a few weeks. After that, the bird moves to what the zoo calls “a kiwi creche.” 

Healthy young birds are sent to these predator-proof sanctuaries until big enough to safely return to the wild—usually when they weigh around 1200 grams. Many crèches are managed by community-led kiwi conservation groups, with support from their communities and The Kiwi Trust.

Don’t feel too bad for this little guy being hatched away from its mom and dad, either. In the wild, kiwi hatchlings spend about five days in the nest and before emerging but are never fed by their parents. 

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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