Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Struthioniformes Apterygidae

Scientific Name: Apteryx haastii
Species Authority: Potts, 1872
Common Name(s):
English Great Spotted Kiwi
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Identification information: 45 cm. Largest kiwi, flightless, no visible wings. Light greyish-brown feathers with horizontal white mottling. Long ivory bill. Voice Loud, shrill, warbling whistle (male), slower, lower-pitched, ascending warble (female). Hints Loud calls at night, especially first two hours of darkness.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2e+3e+4e ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Robertson, H.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Mahood, S., Martin, R, McClellan, R., Taylor, J.
This species is classified as Vulnerable because it is suspected to be in rapid decline, based on probable annual declines (assuming half the population is stable in wet, upland areas) and predation by introduced species.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (VU)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Apteryx haastii has always been confined to the South Island of New Zealand, but its range has contracted and been fragmented significantly since European settlement, and several populations have disappeared. The three main populations are: north-western Nelson to Buller River, Paparoa Range, and Hurunui River to Arthur's Pass (Heather and Robertson 1997). In 1996, the population was estimated at 22,000 (± c.25%) birds (Robertson 2003), but by 2008 this had declined to an estimated 16,000 (Holzapfel et al. 2008). It was assumed to be declining at a rate of 5.8% per year like its congener, Brown Kiwi A. australis (McLennan et al. 1996), but more recent monitoring indicates that wet, upland areas (which hold approximately half the population) may be stable or perhaps only declining slowly (H. A. Robertson in litt. 1999, Robertson et al. 2005). Also the decline of 5.8% is now thought to have been too pessimistic and the actual figure is closer to 2.5% per year (Robertson et al. 2010), which is still unsustainable. 

Countries occurrence:
New Zealand
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 8600
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1500
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is little known, but its population is estimated to number c.8,000 individuals split across two or three isolated populations. This is roughly equivalent to 5,300-5,400 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  Introduced predators are suspected to be causing the species to decline rapidly overall.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 5300-5400 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Habitat It lives in forested mountains from sea-level to 1,500 m, but mainly in the subalpine zone of 700-1,100 m. It uses a wide variety of habitats including tussock grasslands, beech forests, podocarp/hardwood forests, scrub and pasture. Diet It feeds primarily on invertebrates but fallen fruit and leaves are also taken (Heather and Robertson 1997). Breeding A single egg is layed, usually in a burrow (Marchant and Higgins 1990). Incubation is amongst the longest of any bird, between 75-85 days (Calder et al. 1978). Chicks hatch fully-feathered, and first leave the nest unaccompanied after about a week. It is long-lived, with generation time taken to be 15 years (H. A. Robertson in litt. 1999).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 8.8
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Introduced predators are the greatest threat, in particular, mustelids Mustela spp., brush-tailed possum Trichosurus vulpecula, cats, dogs and pigs. As a result, chick survival is likely to be very low like its congener, Brown Kiwi A. mantelli, with at least 94% of chicks not surviving to maturity, except in very wet highland area, perhaps because here rodent prey density means predators are scarce (McLennan et al. 1996, Robertson et al. 2005). Apteryx haasti is the only kiwi species that has no secure populations on islands (Robertson 2003, Holzapfel et al. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Monitoring is intensive and nationally coordinated, and uses call-counts, specially-trained dogs searching for banded birds, and radio-tracking. One small population in the eastern Southern Alps is managed intensively by controlling predators (H. A. Robertson in litt. 1999), and also by removing and incubating eggs and returning the subadults once they are large enough to fend off predators (Holzapfel et al. 2008). The latter approach has been funded by the Bank of New Zealand programme since 1995 under the name Operation Nest Egg (ONE, or BNZONE) (Colbourne et al. 2005). Populations from northwest Nelson have been introduced onto Rotoiti Island in Nelson Lakes National Park (BNZ Save the Kiwi 2011). Leg-hold traps for predators are routinely raised above the ground in kiwi areas to prevent accidental trapping (H.A. Robertson in litt. (1999).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out large-scale predator control at all sites where the population is greater than 200 pairs, and incorporate sites with populations of 50-200 pairs into the BNZONE programme (Holzapfel et al. 2008). Undertake population modelling to determine regional variation in population dynamics and management needs in the Southern Alps. Investigate landscape-scale remote monitoring techniques for sparse populations (Holzapfel et al. 2008). Evaluate islands for possible translocations. Intensively manage at least one, preferably two, populations to secure a minimum of 500 pairs within a managed population and potentially create a source for introductions into other areas (Holzapfel et al. 2008). Promote legislative and policy changes to protect populations and encourage high-quality advocacy at all levels (Robertson 1998, Holzapfel et al. 2008). Educate and inform the public and encourage community involvement in Kiwi conservation (Robertson 2003, Holzapfel et al. 2008).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Apteryx haastii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22678132A40070033. . Downloaded on 09 October 2015.
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