Farmland, bush remnants and reserve design for the North Island brown kiwi: is there a connection?
- Department of Botany and Zoology, Massey University
Many North Island brown kiwi are now restricted to small 'islands' of bush and scrub separated by large tracts of developed farmland. Radio-telemetric home range data from the first sixteen months (September 1985 to December 1986) of an intensive field study of brown kiwi in Paerata Wildlife Management Reserve, Tangiteroria, Northland, are presented. The use of farmland and bush remnants by these kiwi is analysed. Individual birds varied in how far they were ever observed to walk in open pasture, with a maximum of 300 m being recorded. During these excursions the maximum distance between a kiwi and the nearest bush remnant ranged up to 150m, but for most kiwi was less than 50m. Nine of the 22 kiwi tracked made extensive use of bush remnants on farmland adjacent to the 201 ha reserve, and in several cases these remnants served as corridors between larger areas of bush. Only four of the 22 kiwi never used bush remnants outside the reserve. Size and vegetation type of the remnants is discussed. Guidelines for the future design of kiwi reserve, and ways in which existing habitat might be improved are outlined.