Family Kiwis (Apterygidae)


Southern Brown Kiwi (Apteryx australis)


French: Kiwi austral German: Südstreifenkiwi Spanish: Kiwi sureño
Other common names: Tokoeka, Brown Kiwi (when lumped with A. mantelli), Stewart Island Kiwi (lawryi)

Apteryx Australis


, 1813,

New Zealand


Until recently, considered conspecific with A. mantelli and hitherto undescribed A. rowi, but all three taxa now treated as full species. A. australis differs from other taxa previously lumped with it in having grey, rufous or dark brown vs brown plumage (1); soft vs stiff feather tips (2);  <7 vs 17 large tarsal scutes (3);  short vs long facial bristles (2); presence of unique species of feather louse (= ecological difference)#R (1). Various genetic studies show the three to be well separated#R#R#R#R. Nominate race further divides into two genetically well-separated populations, based respectively on Haast R (plumage distinctively rufous) and Fiordland (plumage grey-brown)#R#R. Two subspecies currently recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. a. australis#R Shaw, 1813 – SW South I (New Zealand).
  • A. a. lawryi#R Rothschild, 1893 – Stewart I (New Zealand).
  • Descriptive notes

    50–65 cm; male 1440–3060 g, bill 110–155 mm, female 2060–3850 g, bill 130–205 mm. Flightless nocturnal bird with rotund appearance, lacking... read more


    Male australis gives a high descending shrill yell "wee-oh", deeper and... read more


    Subtropical to temperate forest and shrublands, especially wet forests of podocarps and hardwoods;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet similar to other kiwis and mainly comprises invertebrates from soil and leaf litter; a small proportion of fruit, seeds and leaves.... read more


    Laying Jun–Feb, mainly Aug–Sept; often two broods attempted. Monogamous; lifelong pair-bond. Solitary. Nest-burrow 40–125... read more


    Sedentary. Ringing results reveal that some juveniles take up territory within 2–5 km of... read more

    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE.  Nominate australis restricted to a few localized areas in Fiordland (total c. 7000 birds) and a tiny isolated population near Haast, and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Folch, A., Jutglar, F. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2018). Southern Brown Kiwi (Apteryx australis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 15 November 2018).