North Island Brown Kiwi In the Burrow
Male and female North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx australis mantelli) in their nesting burrow lined with leaf litter. A Forest Gecko (Hoplodactylus granulatus) rests upon a pile of leaves.
Acrylic on Hand stretched 8oz Museum canvas
One of three commissioned paintings in a series.
This commission was obtained when a Private collector read an article about my work in the Rodney Times. The article depicted another kiwi commission for TOSSI (Tawharanui Open Sanctuary Society Inc.) of Tawharanui Regional Park.
Numerous studies were made of kiwis in nocturnal houses throughout New Zealand before work commenced on this series. It is vital to research your subject matter before painting, as behaviour, the way an animal moves, even the texture of its fur or feathers must be protrayed in some manner. In this case there is a marked difference between the feel of the feathers of the spotted kiwi and the North island brown kiwi. The spotted is soft, the North island brown is coarse.
The North Island Brown Kiwi is a hen-sized bird, with females being up to 25% larger than males. The female also has a longer beak. In this painting the female is on the left.
SOLD – Private Collection
About the animal
There are five recognised species of Kiwi native to New Zealand. All Kiwi are nocturnal and flightless. Loss of habitat, predation from introduced species, such as stoats, possums and rats and hunting by man have devastated Kiwi populations. The North Island Brown Kiwi is now only found in the upper two-thirds of the North Island. They are most widespread in Northland, occupying a diverse range of vegetation types including exotic forests and rough farmland.
Kiwi are territorial and most Brown Kiwis live in bonded pairs within their territory for much of the year. The nesting burrow is dug long before use, even up to a year in advance, to allow vegetation to regrow and traces of excavation to disappear. They seldom visit the burrow except to line it with leaves and grasses. Bonded pairs spend most of their time together in the week or two before the first egg is laid, usually sheltering together during the day.
The North island brown kiwi is Endangered. 94% of chicks die before breeding in areas where mammalian pest control is not carried out.
Forest Geckos are found throughout New Zealand, preferring sheltered environments. They grow to around 18 – 19 cm in length. Colour and pattern vary widely. Markings often form intricate patterns of grey, black, green, white and gold. The Forest Gecko also a limited ability to adjust its colour to blend with its surroundings.