Because they’re nocturnal, kiwi can be quite elusive. But they do leave signs as to where they’ve been.
The key with identifying kiwi footprints is to look out for only three front toes. The kiwi’s fourth toe is high up at the back and doesn’t leave an imprint except in very deep mud, whereas the fourth toe is easily seen in footprints left by other birds such as pukeko, weka, chickens, and pheasants.
Kiwi probe the ground for food with their long beak, leaving conical holes the size and shape of an old-fashioned ice cream cone. It is important to note that if there are cobwebs in a possible probe hole, it could be a tunnel web spider den!
Kiwi feathers have a downy appearance with no barbs holding each segment together. Feathers are often seen in summer caught in hook grass along tracks.
Kiwi scat (or poop) is quite difficult to tell apart from other birds and even the experts get fooled. Usually it is the white uric acid crystals in the poo that suggest it is from a kiwi.
To hear what kiwi sound like, and the different birds and animals that they can be confused with, listen to their calls here.
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.