It's a . . . kiwi!
National Zoo officials say a Apteryx mantelli -- otherwise known as a brown kiwi -- hatched Tuesday morning.
Keepers had been anticipating the birth since the egg was laid Jan. 19. Bird House staff have enlisted the help of National Zoo geneticists, who are using DNA samples swabbed from the inside of the egg and from the bird’s beak and hope to determine its sex in the coming weeks. Otherwise, it could take as long as two years before a visual determination of the bird's sex could be made.
The chick is not currently on display, but folks who'd like a peek can check out the kiwi-cam. Since the birds are nocturnal, the best time to see the chick in action -- exploring and foraging in its box -- will be in the evening.
This is the fourth time a kiwi has successfully hatched at the Zoo. The first kiwi -- and the first hatched outside of New Zealand -- hatched in 1975. It wasn't until 2006 that another was born. The male kiwi -- Manaia, can be seen on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the Bird House's 11 a.m. Meet-a-Kiwi program. Another male kiwi, Koa was born in 2008.
Kiwis are natives of New Zealand, where they enjoy special status as the county's national bird. The birds have a long history -- they've been in New Zealand for more than 34 million years.
Kiwis typically mate for life, and the male is responsible for the egg. After kiwi chicks hatch, however, they receive no parental care. Unlike other bird species, kiwis hatch fully feathered and equipped with all of the necessary skills they need to survive.
Posted by: checkered1 | March 31, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse
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