Endangered kiwi chick is super cute and needs a name

Written by on November 2, 2017 in Rare Critters - No comments

She’s one laid-back chick.

And now, keepers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are looking for a name befitting the endangered female brown kiwi chick, which hatched in the summer.

The Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, along with the Embassy of New Zealand in the United States are asking the public to help name her.

“Keepers describe the chick as fairly calm and laid-back, though she could become more cautious as she matures,” the institute says.

“Our kiwi chick is nocturnal, flightless, adorable & she needs a name,” says the SCBI.

The chick hatched between July 29 and July 30 to parents Ngati Hine Tahi and Ngati Hine Rua. Both parents were gifts from New Zealand.

The flightless, nocturnal birds are sacred to the Maori people in New Zealand. The institute even repatriates feathers molted from its kiwi to New Zealand.

The bird are native to New Zealand, where they are considered endangered due to non-native predators introduced by people. Back in 1975, the institute made history becoming the first facility to hatch a brown kiwi outside New Zealand.

Since 2012, it has helped hatch six kiwi eggs.

The kiwi chick stayed in the incubator during her first 24 hours, then moved to a smaller enclosure specially designed for newly-hatched chicks/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Brown kiwi are monogamous and usually mate for life.

And this chick is the fifth offspring for her parents, but this bird is their first female chick.

And experts quickly learned a thing or two about her.

Mealworms are her preferred food and, in the past three months, she has tripled her weight to a normal 2 pounds (908 grams) for her age.

“Since kiwi are nocturnal, she spends most of her day sleeping and only interacts with keepers during routine health checks and weigh-ins,” keepers said.

You can enter a name until Nov. 5 at 11 p.m. EST with these parameters in mind:

  • Significance to Maori culture and the country of New Zealand
  • Connection to kiwi biology and facts about the species
  • Tie to field of conservation biology and the need to preserve, study and help save species like the endangered kiwi

The public will then get to vote.

The top suggestions via the zoo’s Twitter account @NationalZoo from Nov. 13-16.

About the Author

Dawn Walton

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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