A little bit of everything
Because kiwi live in such diverse habitats from mountain slopes to exotic pine forests, it can be difficult to define a typical kiwi diet.
Most of their food is made up of invertebrates, and a favourite is native worms which can grow to more than 0.5 metres. Luckily for kiwi, New Zealand is rich in worms with 178 native and 14 exotic species to choose from.
Kiwi also eat berries, seeds, and some leaves including totara, hinau, miro, and various coprosma and hebe.
The kiwi’s breeding success is closely related to its diet. The birds need to build up large reserves to get through the breeding season so if the season has been particularly hard due to drought or flooding, their breeding season may not be as good as usual.
Some unusual foods
Brown kiwi have been known to eat bracket fungi and frogs, and capture and eat freshwater crayfish/koura. In captivity, kiwi have even fished eels/tuna out of a pond, subdued them with a few whacks, and eaten them.
Quenching their thirst
Kiwi can get all the water they need from their food. In fact, juicy earthworms are 85% water! This adaptation means they can live in particularly dry places such as Kapiti Island.
Being nocturnal also helps because they don’t get hot, bothered, and dried out by the sun.
When it does drink, a kiwi immerses its beak, tips back its head, and gurgles down the water.
Learn more about kiwi
How you can help
Many hands make light work. Keen to join the mission to save the kiwi? Here are some ways you can help.