Endemic - NATIONALLY CRITICAL
DISTRIBUTION: Approximately 375 of these birds are found in Okarito on the West Coast of the South Island. Most Rowi live within the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary. They have recently been introduced to Mana, Motuara and Blumine Islands. Before human settlement, Rowi were widespread throughout the northern South Island.
HABITAT: Found in dense native lowland forests between Okarito and Waiho River.
FOOD: Rowi eat earthworms, spiders, crickets, weta and freshwater crayfish. They also eat fallen fruit and seeds.
CALL: Male gives a high-pitched ascending whistle, female gives a slower and lower pitched guttural call.
GENERAL: While similar in size to the Brown Kiwi, Rowi are distinguished by soft and slightly greyish plumage, and occasional white facial feathers. While Brown Kiwi chicks are independent from at least 2 months old, the Rowi chicks stay with their parents for 4-5 years, sharing their burrow and helping to raise younger siblings.
In the 1990's their population was in decline due to predation. Despite an extensive trapping programme from 2001 to 2006 with the use of 3000 traps, stoats continued to kill a high percentage of Rowi chicks.
Rowi numbers were decling rapidly, so eggs are removed from nests, hatching them in captivity before being released into predator-free creche sites until they are big enough to defend themselves (1.2kg). They are then returned to the wild.
Between 2005 to 2011, eggs brought to and managed at the New Zealand Conservation Trust's facility numbered 182.