Impacts of environmental and human disturbances on behaviour of captive kiwi (Apteryx mantelli)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Katie Davison, Roberta L Farrell, Steven D Miller, Carolyn M King
New Zealand Journal of Zoology
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We studied the behaviour of 15 captive brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli), and the effects of disturbance on their behaviour. They were all held in nocturnal display facilities, known in New Zealand as Kiwi Houses and referred to here as enclosures 1–4. Our detailed study first compiled a baseline assessment of normal behaviours of captive kiwi from which to define the abnormal. We found that abnormal behaviours (pacing and startle responses) were usually stimulated by one of three different sources of disturbance: noise generated by visitors viewing the kiwi through glass-viewing windows, noise resulting from heavy rainfall, and keeper interactions. As noise was a major contribution to disturbance, we quantified the volume of sound that reached the interior of the kiwi display spaces within each enclosure, and correlated it with kiwi behaviour. Our results show how abnormal behaviours among captive kiwi can be minimised by eliminating or reducing disturbances, and we suggest how the design and structure of the enclosures can be improved in the future by mitigating noise disturbance, (1) from visitors by installation of double or triple glazed window joinery, and (2) from outside by greater insulation in the roof and walls.


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