New Zealanders take their nickname from the kiwi, although most have never seen one in the wild. An ancient flightless bird, it is related to the African ostrich, the Australian emu and the extinct New Zealand moa. It cannot fly, has loose, hair-like feathers and long whiskers, and is largely nocturnal. Mature birds can fight off attacks by stoats or cats, but are defenseless against dogs. Young kiwi are extremely vulnerable to predation by stoats and cats, who are thought to be the main cause of their decline.
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