The giant among kiwi, this species lives only in the top half of the South Island.


New Zealand status: Endemic
Conservation status: 
Threatened–Nationally Vulnerable
Population: 15,000
Found in:
Sub-alpine zones of North West Nelson, the Paparoa Range, and Arthur’s Pass
Threats: Predation
Species information: Great spotted kiwi on NZ Birds Online

The largest of our kiwi species, great spotted kiwi/roroa live largely at higher altitudes in some South Island national parks. Despite their size, chicks are still vulnerable to stoats, particularly during South Island beech mast conditions.

The great spotted kiwi/roroa (Apteryx haastii) lives in the northern half of the South Island. They are found almost as far as Greymouth, Arthur's Pass and North Canterbury.

Trampers on the Heaphy Track may have heard the trilling call of roroa after nightfall, or the sound of them rustling through the bush. Although present from sea level to 1,500 metres, they mainly frequent the subalpine zone of 700-1,100 metres, using a wide variety of habitats.

This chosen harsh environment could be one of their best defences against predators - conditions are tough even for a stoat, dog or cat. Indeed, although roroa are our least known species of kiwi, their numbers appear to be stable.

At nesting time, incubation is more or less shared equally between the male and female parents.

Great spotted kiwi. Photo copyright: Tui De Roy / Roving Tortoise Photos DOC USE ONLY.
Great spotted kiwi

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