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A Snowy White Kiwi Hatches Just in Time for the Holidays


A second, rare, white Kiwi hatched on the morning of December 18 at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Willdlife Center. Like it's sibling, Manukura, this little one has received a special and meaningful name -- Mauriora, meaning ‘sustained life’. It hatched in the Wildlife Center's nursery, where Manukura – the world's first white kiwi hatched in captivity – came along in May. 

Called a powerful name by Rangitane chief executive and Pukaha board member Jason Kerehi, he added, "This new kiwi is seen as an assurance that we are blessed with more than one special creature and there is potential for more."

Conservation Department captive breeding ranger Darren Page said it was pretty unusual that two kiwis with the rare gene to produce white chicks had managed to find eachother and mate within the 940-hectare Pukaha forest - not even once, but twice over two seasons! "Both white birds have the same father, who we have identified through his transmitter," he added. "We can't identify the mother but assume she is the same because of the rarity of the white gene."

Eleven kiwi have hatched at the center so far this season and of the two kiwi eggs incubating in the nursery, one is from the same nest as Mauriora. Keepers are waiting to see what that brings.


Photo Credit: Mike Haydon and Pukaha Mount Bruce National Willdlife Center

Find more pictures and information after the jump.
This little bird started out in a big white egg. The aircell in the egg slowly grows to prepare for the chick's first breaths. A sudden rapid increase in air cell size is the first sign that the chick is about to hatch.
At the next stage chick internally pips, which means it's beak has broken through the membrane to the air cell which by then is quite large (The pencil lines on the egg below show how the air cell has developed). It's respiratory system has kicked into gear and the chick is breathing and positioning himself ready for hatch. The 'X' marks the spot where it's beak has pushed through the membrane. Before long, the chick hatches.

One egg