Welcome to Stewart Island & Sails Ashore +64 3 219 1151 tait@sailsashore.co.nz

The Summer of the Kiwi

This past summer has truly been one for Kiwi sightings, both on Ulva Island and around the village. I liberated some of the first kiwi to be let lose on Ulva Island back when I was ranger in ’69/70, but never really saw them there again until a few years ago. But this last year I’ve seen probably more than in any 3 or 4 past years, and the water taxi skipper we use says hardly a day goes past, but his passengers talk of seeing birds, and in one case 4 separate birds.

And around the Village

We always tell our guests where to go around the village, as kiwi are regularly seen even amongst the houses. And see them they do. Not every guest of course, but a good number get lucky. And we hear them calling in the evening and early morning. We joke that every community has their own particular noise issues keeping folks awake … some have boy racers hooning about, we have kiwi screaming in our gardens.

Kiwi Calling  ….. we found this male on Ulva Island a couple of days ago, and Mark took video of him calling.  I’ve heard kiwi calling most of my life, but only recently have seen them actually in full song. The upright stance and head back as they scream is just so spectacular, and it carries a very long way. As much as half a mile on a calm evening.

Kiwi Dibble holes... sails tours ulva island

Kiwi Leave pretty distinctive sign… The dibble holes where they have probed for food are quite distinctive, but then so are the holes left by walking sticks.  A simple test is to use a long thin twig to probe the hole. Kiwi will go in as much as 70 mm (females are longer than males)


Kiwi Claw prints, sails ulva island tours


Their Claw prints are much much larger than weka, again a source of confusion. The individual claws are also much heavier and wider