The birds — which are similar in size to chickens — mate for life, Murphy said. And when the chick’s parents arrived in Virginia six years ago, they were the first kiwis to leave New Zealand in 20 years.
After the chick’s mother, Ngati Hine Rua, laid the egg, she did not incubate it. Female kiwis do not incubate eggs, which typically weigh about 20 percent of the mama’s body weight, Murphy said. Instead, male kiwis do most of the work, and in this particular case, officials said, a kiwi named Iwi incubated the egg for 30 days before keepers placed it in an incubator.
“The chick appears to be healthy and doing well,” the zoo announced Monday.
And this newborn is already on its own. Murphy said kiwis are able to hunt and fend for themselves from birth.
The bird is sacred to the Maori people of New Zealand, said Murphy, who added that keepers routinely collect fallen feathers that are later returned home.
This little chick’s feathers will soon be added to the mix.