Only a few animals at the National Zoo carry a name that designates the residents of an entire country. Thus there was special poignancy to the death last weekend of one of the zoo’s kiwis.

In addition to being the name of a flightless bird, “kiwi’’ is the nickname for New Zealanders. Initial reports indicated that Koa, a 6-year-old male brown kiwi found dead Sunday morning, had heart disease, the zoo said.

Koa was a demonstration animal and one of about three dozen male brown kiwis in zoos outside New Zealand.