Apteryx mantelli 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Struthioniformes Apterygidae

Scientific Name: Apteryx mantelli
Species Authority: Bartlett, 1851
Common Name(s):
English Northern Brown Kiwi, 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. Differs from other kiwi taxa in brown rather than grey, rufous or dark brown plumage, stiff rather than soft feather tips, 17 large tarsal scutes (7 or less in other taxa) and long rather than short facial bristles. 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: Endangered A2bce+3bce+4bce ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, 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.
Mainland populations of this species may be decreasing extremely rapidly, based on annual declines, predation and loss of habitat. However, owing to the stability of island populations, and intensive predator control in select mainland populations, the overall decline is likely to be slower, but still very rapid, thus warranting Endangered status.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Apteryx mantelli (as defined following the taxonomic change) occurs in isolated and fragmented populations on the North Island and some adjacent islands of New Zealand. Remaining populations are isolated and fragmented. Birds are locally common in Northland, and mostly sparsely distributed in the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne to the northern Ruahine Range, and from Tongariro to Taranaki. Stable populations are present on Little Barrier (c.1,000 birds), Kawau and Pounui Islands (Heather and Robertson 1997, H. A. Robertson in litt. 1999). Hybrids are present on Kapiti Island (H. A. Robertson in litt. 1999). The total population was estimated at 25,300 birds in 2008 (Holzapfel et al. 2008), down from an estimated 35,000 (± c.25%) birds in 1996 (Robertson 2003). Numbers have probably declined by at least 90% since 1900, and are declining at 2.5% per annum in unmanaged mainland populations (Robertson et al. 2011). The previously estimated decline of 5.8% per annum (McLennan et al. 1996) is now thought to have been too pessimistic and based on a small sample size subject to several acute mortality events (Robertson et al. 2011).

Countries occurrence:
New Zealand
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:157000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:11-100Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
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:In 1996, the total population was estimated to number 35,000 individuals. Holzapfel et al. (2008) estimated a total population of 8,000 individuals in the Northland population, 1,000 in the Coromandel population, and 8,000 in both the western and eastern North Island populations in 2008. The total population estimate is therefore estimated at 25,000 individuals (Robertson 2013).

Trend Justification:  Unmanaged populations are declining at 2.5% per annum owing to introduced predators, which would result in a halving of the population every 27 years (Robertson et al. 2011). The previously estimated decline of 5.8% per annum (McLennan et al. 1996) is now thought to have been too pessimistic and based on a small sample size subject to several acute mortality events (Robertson et al. 2011). Adult mortality was 7.3% per annum and life expectancy is greatly below the expected value at 13.8 years vs. approximately 40 years (Robertson et al. 2010). Populations for which intensive conservation programmes are in place are stable or increasing (Holzapfel et al. 2008), but overall the species is estimated to be in very rapid decline.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It favours dense, subtropical and temperate forests, but is also found in shrublands, scrub, regenerating forest, exotic pine plantations and pasture (Marchant and Higgins 1990). Diet Invertebrates are the primary food (Heather and Robertson 1997). Breeding Clutch size is one or two (with single clutches more frequent in high-density populations [Ziesemann et al. 2011]) and there are up to three clutches in a year (Colbourne 2002, Ziesemann et al. 2011). The male carries out almost all of the incubation (Colbourne 2002), which is amongst the longest for any bird at between 74 and 84 days (Calder et al. 1978). Laying was recorded in every month between June and November in a high-density population in 2007 (Ziesemann et al. 2011). Chicks hatch fully-feathered, and first leave the nest unaccompanied after about a week. It is long-lived, with generation time taken to be 10-15 years (H. A. Robertson in litt. 1999). More chicks were found to hatch in reused nests than in previously unused burrows (Ziesemann et al. 2011).

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 most significant threat to the survival of the species is predation of adults by dogs and ferrets Mustela furo (Robertson 2010), with predation of young kiwi by Stoat Mustela erminea and cats also affecting populations (McLennan et al. 1996, Basse et al. 1999, Holzapfel et al. 2008, Robertson 2010). Significant spikes of mortality can occur, for example, a single dog killed c.500 birds in six weeks (Taborsky 1988), and over 70 incidents of dogs killing kiwi in Northland occurred between 1990 and 1995 (Pierce and Sporle 1997). The smaller male kiwi may be at greater risk of predation by ferrets, resulting in a skewed sex ratio and reduced effective population size (Robertson 2010). In one population prior to management at least 94% of chicks died before reaching breeding age (McLennan et al. 1996). About half were killed by introduced predators, in particular, stoat Mustela erminea and cats (McLennan et al. 1996). Juvenile kiwi become too large for stoats above about 800g, which takes about four months to achieve (McLennan et al. 2004). The clearance of habitat fragments continues to threaten small populations (Hutching 1995, Miller and Pierce 1995), but the rate of loss of native habitat has declined markedly and this is not currently considered a driver for population reductions (Robertson 2010). New avian diseases and pathogens are a potential threat, particularly with the importation of non-native but closely related ratites to New Zealand (Holzapfel et al. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation and research actions underway
Monitoring is intensive and nationally coordinated, and uses call-counts, specially-trained dogs searching for banded birds, and radio-tracking (Robertson et al. 2010). Key populations are managed by controlling predators by the use of trapping and poisoned baits (Robertson 1998), with leg-hold predator traps are raised above the ground to prevent accidental trapping (H. A. Robertson in litt. 1999). Kiwi aversion training for hunters' dogs is being trialled, although there is no evidence that this is a viable long-term solution (Robertson et al. 2010). 
A programme of removing and incubating eggs and returning subadults once these are large enough to fend off predators has been developed since 1995 under the name Operation Nest Egg (ONE, or BNZONE as the funding has been provided by the Bank of New Zealand) (Colbourne et al. 2005, Pickard 2009, Robertson et al. 2010). A dedicated rearing facility was constructed at which 942 eggs received from the wild produced 475 young released back into the wild between 1995 and 2008 (Pickard 2009), with survival in captivity greatly improving during this time (Colbourne et al. 2005, Pickard 2009). BNZONE has been demonstrated to be the most effective tool for the species, resulting in a 12.5% annual population increase within managed sites, due to 83% chick survival (Robertson et al. 2010). Due to the cost and need to locate nests this approach is only practical within areas up to 10,000 ha and should be used to turn around declines in the most threatened and restricted populations and subspecies (Colbourne et al. 2005). Many national and overseas captive populations are held (Heather and Robertson 1997).

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). Intensively manage at least one population of each regional taxon using the BNZONE programme to increase the population size (Holzapfel et al. 2008). Undertake population modelling for all taxa. Investigate landscape-scale remote monitoring techniques for sparse populations (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 1998, Holzapfel et al. 2008).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Apteryx mantelli. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T45353580A95142721. . Downloaded on 22 July 2017.
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