Apteryx rowi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Struthioniformes Apterygidae

Scientific Name: Apteryx rowi Tennyson, Palma, Robertson, Worthy & Gill, 2003
Common Name(s):
English Okarito Kiwi, Okarito Brown 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. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Taxonomic Notes: Apteryx australis, A. mantelli and A. rowi (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously treated as A. australis and A. mantelli (incorporating rowi) following Baker et al. (1995); prior to that all three taxa were lumped as A. australis following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).
Identification information: 40 cm. Medium-sized kiwi, flightless, no visible wings. Dark greyish-brown feathers streaked lengthways with reddish-brown. Long ivory bill. Similar spp. Okarito birds distinguished from Tokoeka A. australis by slightly greyer plumage, occasional white facial whiskers. Voice Shrill, clear ascending then descending whistle (male), lower-pitched, hoarse cry (female). Note duration and inter-note interval increase during a calling bout, and there is evidence that the species may duet (Corfield et al. 2008). Hints Loud calls at night, especially first two hours of darkness. 

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Robertson, H., Weeber, B. & Germano, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Mahood, S., Martin, R, McClellan, R., Taylor, J., Symes, A., Wheatley, H.
This newly-split kiwi is increasing in number following intensive conservation management. However, the total population remains small and it is therefore classified as Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Apteryx rowi is locally common in native lowland forests in a small area of coastal forest inland from Okarito, on the west coast of South Island, New Zealand (Robertson 2013). They have recently been introduced to Mana, Motuara and Blumine Islands, in the Cook Strait region, and breeding has been recorded at both Mana and Blumine (H. Robertson in litt. 2016). Subadult birds have been released in adjacent North Okarito, which was part of the species range until very recently, and they have started breeding there. Before human settlement of New Zealand the species was widespread throughout the northern South Island and into the southern North Island, as far north as Lake Poukawa (Hawkes Bay) (Robertson 2013). The population is growing and was estimated to number 400-450 adults in 2016. 

Countries occurrence:
New Zealand
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:260
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:11-100Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The 2016 population is estimated to number 400-450 adults, and given that some (presumably very old) birds do not breed, the number of mature individuals is estimated to lie in the range 350-400 birds.

Trend Justification:  The population has risen rapidly from c.160 birds in 1995 to 400-450 adults in 2016 following intensive captive rearing of eggs and chicks to avoid predation by invasive stoats (H. Robertson in litt. 2016).
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:350-400Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:1Continuing decline in subpopulations:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The native population is now restricted to coastal podocarp-hardwood forest. Eggs are laid from July to January, and the clutch size is one, but sometimes clutches can be overlapped. The nest is in a burrow, hollow base of a tree, or in a hollow log. The species is flightless and nocturnal, resting by day in a burrow, hollow tree or log or under thick vegetation. It feeds by walking slowly along tapping the ground, probing the bill into leaf litter or rotten logs when food is detected. Food is mostly small invertebrates, especially earthworms and larvae of beetles, cicadas and moths (Robertson 2013).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):8.8
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species underwent massive historic declines and disappeared from most of its former range as a result of a combination of habitat loss and predation by introduced mammals. Declines up until the 1990s were attributed to recruitment failure caused by predation of chicks and juveniles by stoats Mustela erminea, and some adults being killed by dogs and motor vehicles.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation and research actions underway 
'Operation Nest Egg' (the removal of eggs or young chicks from the wild and rearing in captivity and on Motuara Island, until large enough to cope with the presence of stoats), allowed the population to increase to about 200 birds by 2000. A landscape-scale stoat trapping programme in South Okarito Forest from 2001-2005 largely failed to protect chicks from stoat predation. Operation Nest Egg was reinstated, leading to the recent rapid population growth. New populations have been established on Mana and Blumine Islands, and breeding has been recorded at both of these sites (H. Robertson in litt. 2016). Subadult birds have been released in adjacent North Okarito, which was part of the species range until very recently, and they have started breeding there.

Conservation and research actions proposed
Carry out landscape-scale pest control at sufficient intervals at the sites that are currently unmanaged, specifically for mustelids, rats, cats and dogs (Holzapfel et al. 2008). Conduct research into reasons for low productivity. Evaluate further islands for possible translocations. Intensively manage the population using the BNZONE programme to increase the population size (Holzapfel et al. 2008). Undertake population modelling. 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 1998, Holzapfel et al. 2008).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Apteryx rowi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22732871A119169794. . Downloaded on 21 September 2018.
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