'North Island Brown Kiwi New Arrival
A male North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx australis mantelli) and chick with discarded egg shell in a nesting burrow lined with leaf litter. A spider web drapes ferns at the burrow entrance.
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.
SOLD – Private Collection
About the animal
The North island brown kiwi is Endangered. 94% of chicks die before breeding in areas where mammalian pest control is not carried out.
The egg averages 20% of the female’s bodyweight, one of the largest egg-to-body weight ratios of any bird. After the egg is laid the female North Island Brown Kiwi leaves the male to incubate it on its own, while she feeds and builds up condition once more. In other Kiwi species males and females share the incubation period. A second egg is usually laid several weeks later. By that time the male has developed a brood patch on its lower belly and spends about 20 hours each day covering the egg. He covers the burrow entrance carefully with vegetation before foraging each night.
The incubation period of the eggs is around 80 days. Kiwi chicks lack the egg tooth found in other birds and hatch by kicking at the tough egg shell. The hatching success rate is around 25% and only about half those chicks survive to leave the nest. On average Kiwi pairs fledge 1 chick every 2 years.
Unlike other birds, Kiwi chicks aren’t blind and naked, but hatch as miniature versions of the adult. The chick emerges wet, unable to stand and with a belly extended with yolk. This sustains them for the first week, while their feathers dry. During this period they are brooded by the male and occasionally the female. After 5 or 6 days the chicks emerge from the burrow for the first time. By 10 days they are away foraging for most of the night, returning to the nest during the day. At 20 days they leave the burrow for good.