Whakarongo mai – hear the call

One of the simplest ways to locate kiwi is to listen for their calls. Kiwi call at night to mark their territory and stay in touch with their mate. On still nights their distinctive, piercing calls can travel more than one kilometre.

The male North Island brown kiwi call is an upward shrill, single note, repeated about 15-20 times. The female is a lower-pitched, coarse rasping cry, also repeated about 15-20 times.

Male kiwi calls can easily be confused with morepork (ruru), pukeko and other nocturnal animals, but the morepork call is usually lower in tone and only repeated seven to 10 times.

The best time to listen for kiwi is up to two hours after dark and just before dawn.

Want to hear what kiwi sound like?