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Southern Brown Kiwi Apteryx australis

Justification
Mainland populations of this species may be in extremely rapid decline, based on probable annual declines caused by introduced species. However, the large Stewart Island population may be stable, and thus the overall decline is likely to be slower, but still rapid, warranting Vulnerable status.

Taxonomic source(s)
Baker, A. J.; Daugherty, C. H.; Colbourne, R.; McLennan, J. L. 1995. Flightless Brown Kiwis of New Zealand possess extremely subdivided population structure and cryptic species like small mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 92: 8254-8258.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
Apteryx australis, A. mantelli and A. rowi (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously treated as A. australis and A. mantelli (incorporating rowi) following Baker et al. (1995); prior to that all three taxa were lumped as A. australis following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

Identification
40 cm. Medium-sized kiwi, flightless, no visible wings. Dark greyish-brown (Fiordland population), rufous-brown (Haast), dark brown (Stewart) feathers streaked lengthways with reddish-brown. Long ivory bill. Voice Shrill, clear ascending then descending whistle (male), lower-pitched, hoarse cry (female). Hints Loud calls at night, especially first two hours of darkness.

Distribution and population
Apteryx australis is restricted to Fiordland and Stewart Island, with an isolated population near Haast, New Zealand 

Population justification
The 2008 total population was estimated at 29,800 birds (Holzapfel et al. 2008, H. Robertson in litt. 2012), similar to the estimate of 27,225 (± c.25%) birds in 1996 (Robertson 2003). The species is common on Stewart Island but is thought to be declining (from c.20,000 birds in 1996 [Robertson 2003] to 15,000 in 2008 [Holzapfel et al. 2008]) and in localised areas in northern Fiordland (10,000 birds) and southern Fiordland (4,500 birds) (Heather and Robertson 1997, Holzapfel et al. 2008). The Haast population was reported as 300 individuals by Holzapfel et al. (2008). The estimate of c.29,800 birds suggests that there are c.19,900 mature individuals, on the basis that they account for around 2/3 of the population.

Trend justification
The species is common on Stewart Island but is thought to be declining (from c.20,000 birds in 1996 [Robertson 2003] to 15,000 in 2008 [Holzapfel et al. 2008]) and in localised areas in northern Fiordland (10,000 birds) and southern Fiordland (4,500 birds) (Heather and Robertson 1997, Holzapfel et al. 2008). The inferred decline of 5.8% per year on the mainland, like its congener A. mantelli (McLennan et al. 1996), is now considered to have been much too pessimistic, and the actual rate of decline is thought to be closer to 2% (Holzapfel et al. 2008). The generation length used here may need to be revised, with possible implications for the inferred rate of decline.

Ecology
It occurs in a variety of habitats ranging from coastal sand dunes on Stewart Island to forest, subalpine scrub and tussock grasslands in Fiordland. It feeds primarily on invertebrates but fallen fruit and leaves are also taken. It lays just one egg, usually in a burrow (Marchant and Higgins 1990, H. A. Robertson in litt. 1999). The incubation period is amongst the longest for any bird at between 74 and 84 days (Calder et al. 1978). Chicks hatch fully-feathered, and first leave the nest unaccompanied after about a week. It is long-lived, with generation time taken to be 30-50 years (H. A. Robertson in litt. 2012).

Threats
The impact of introduced predators is the greatest threat: brush-tailed possum Trichosurus vulpecula and stoat Mustela erminea eat eggs, M. erminea and cats eat chicks and juveniles up to c.1,200 g, and dogs, ferrets M. furo, and T. vulpecula kill juveniles and adults (McLennan et al. 1996, McLennan 2004). Predation pressure is possibly lower on Stewart Island where mustelids are absent, and dogs are prohibited from most of the island (H. A. Robertson in litt. 1999). However, cats are widespread and common (H. A. Robertson in litt. 2012). The rate of loss of native habitat has declined markedly and this is not currently considered a driver for population reductions (Robertson 2010). New avian diseases and pathogens are a potential threat, particularly with the importation of non-native but closely related ratites to New Zealand (Holzapfel et al. 2008). The Haast population is at risk from stochastic events due to the small population size and isolation and suffers from low fecundity (Holzapfel et al. 2008).


Conservation Actions Underway
Monitoring is nationally coordinated, and uses call-counts, specially-trained dogs searching for banded birds, and radio-tracking (Holzapfel et al. 2008). Intensive management involving predator control and removing and incubating eggs and returning subadults once large enough to fend off predators is taking place within the Haast population. The latter approach has been funded by the Bank of New Zealand programme since 1995 under the name Operation Nest Egg (ONE) (Colbourne et al. 2005), and is succeeding in increasing the population of A. australis 'Haast' (Holzapfel et al. 2008, Robertson et al. 2010). Research has focused on the Haast, Clinton valley, Murchison Mountains and Stewart Island populations, and involves taxonomy, investigating the effects of predators and their management, ecology and the social structure of populations (H. A. Robertson in litt. 1999). Many national and overseas captive populations are held (Heather and Robertson 1997).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey populations in Fiordland and undertake population modelling of all taxa.  Clarify the taxonomy of the species.  Research reasons for low productivity in the Haast population. Evaluate the success of translocations and support the development of a structured captive breeding programme. Intensively manage the Haast population and at least one other mainland population using the ONE programme with the goal of doubling the population (Holzapfel et al. 2008). Investigate landscape-scale remote monitoring techniques for sparse populations (Holzapfel et al. 2008).  Maintain the mustelid-free status of Stewart Island (H. A. Robertson in litt. 2012). Promote legislative and policy changes to protect populations and encourage high-quality advocacy at all levels (Robertson 1998, Holzapfel et al. 2008).  Educate and inform the public and encourage community involvement in Kiwi conservation (Robertson 2003, Holzapfel et al. 2008).


References
Baker, A. J.; Daugherty, C. H.; Colbourne, R.; McLennan, J. L. 1995. Flightless Brown Kiwis of New Zealand possess extremely subdivided population structure and cryptic species like small mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 92: 8254-8258.

Colbourne, R. 2005. Kiwi (Apteryx spp.) on offshore New Zealand islands: populations, translocations and identification of potential release sites. New Zealand Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Colbourne, R., Bassett, S., Billing, A., McCormack, H., McLennan, J., Nelson, A. and Robertson, H. 2005. The development of Operation Nest Egg as a tool in the conservation management of kiwi. Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.

Heather, B. D.; Robertson, H. A. 1997. The field guide to the birds of New Zealand. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Holzapfel, S.; Robertson, H.A.; McLennan, J.A.; Sporle, W.; Hackwell, K.; Impey, M. 2008 . Kiwi (Apteryx spp.) recovery plan: 2008–2018. Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Marchant, S.; Higgins, P. J. 1990. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds, 1: ratites to ducks. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

McLennan, J. A.; Potter, M. A.; Robertson, H. A.; Wake, G. C.; Colbourne, R.; Dew, L.; Joyce, L.; McCann, A. J.; Miles, J.; Miller, P. J.; Reid, J. 1996. Role of predation in the decline of kiwi, Apteryx spp., in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 20: 27-35.

McLennan, J.A., Dew, L., Miles, J., Gillingham, N. and Waiwai, R. 2004. Size matters: predation risk and juvenile growth in North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli). New Zealand Journal of Ecology 28(2): 241-250.

Robertson, H. 2003. Kiwi (Apteryx spp.) recovery plan 1996-2006. Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Robertson, H. A. 1998. Kiwi recovery plan 1996--2006. Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Robertson, H.A., Colbourne, R.A., Graham, P.J., Miller, P.J. and Pierce, R.J. 2010. Experimental management of Brown Kiwi Apteryx mantelli in central Northland, New Zealand. Bird Conservation International.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

New Zealand Govt - Dept of Conservation - Recovery Plan

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Mahood, S., Martin, R, McClellan, R., Taylor, J.

Contributors
Robertson, H., Weeber, B.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Apteryx australis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Tokoeka (Apteryx australis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Apterygidae (Kiwis)
Species name author Shaw, 1813
Population size 19900 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 9,800 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species