What is believed to be the smallest kiwi egg, weighing less than half its sibling, has successfully hatched what is believed to be the smallest North Island brown kiwi.
The unnamed chick, weighing just 173.5 grams, hatched at Rotorua's Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter on Tuesday.
There were fears for the chick as the egg, previously dubbed Mini, weighed just 217 grams when it arrived from Whirinaki Forest - compared to the 442.1g of a sibling egg.
Kiwi Encounter has hatched more than 1300 North Island brown kiwi eggs and previously the smallest chick, McMurdo, whose egg was 292g, weighed 238.5g when it emerged.
"It's very exciting," says Kiwi Encounter husbandry manager Claire Travers.
"The little chick hatched all on its own and there was a team of very excited staff ... one staff member even turned up straight out of bed on her day off, she was so keen for a look."
Naming rights for the tiny chick are up for auction on the Trade Me website and there are plans to release the bird as part of a founding population at the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust, near Tauranga.
Ms Travers said it was a mystery why the female laid a smaller egg in a clutch.
It was possible it was diet-related or there were issues with the bird's ovaries or reproductive tract.
source: newshub archive