Whetu, The Cutest Kiwi Chick Who Easily Won The Internet
These cute wingless birds are native to New Zealand. They are approximately the size of a domestic chicken and are the smallest living ratites that also include emus and ostriches. The closest relatives of kiwis are the elephant birds from Madagascar.
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The word 'kiwi'comes from the Maori language. There is a Maori legend saying that once the trees in the forest became ill from being eaten by bugs, so Tane Mahuta, the lord of the forest, asked the birds for help, but no other bird except for kiwi wanted to do it. That’s why kiwi was respected and loved by everyone in the forest.
These nocturnal birds have a very good sense of smell, as they are the only ones with nostrils on their beaks. Surprisingly, they lay the largest eggs in relation to their body size, comparing to any other bird species.
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What came first?
There is a lot of confusion as to what came first: the name of the fruit or the name of the bird? Actually, the name of the bird came first. Later, it was used as a nickname for everything from New Zealand, where the kiwi is found. The brown furry skin of the fruit somewhat reminds of the bird. Besides, kiwi is an important national symbol and icon of New Zealand, cherished and respected by everyone there.
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Kiwis can't fly due to their underdeveloped wings and chest muscles. They also don’t have a sternum (breastbone), which makes them vulnerable to injuries, such as dog bites.
Other threats to kiwis are stoats, ferrets, and cats. Being hit by cars is another reason for their extinction, that’s why there are many warning road signs on New Zealand’s roads.
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Whetu, the cutest kiwi chick ever
Here’s one famous kiwi bird, named Whetu. It is pronounced as Feh-too and is Maori for “star.” She was born on July 30th, 2017, at the Smithsonian Conservation Biological Institute and immediately became an internet star.
Her name was announced only in November, as more than 1,200 fans voted for names for this cutie. Other name options were Aroha (Maori for "love") and Kaitiaki (Maori for "guardian").
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) 17 ноября 2017 г.
At the moment, the wingless star lives at the Front Royal, VA, Institute, sleeping during the day and being awake at night. She eats worms and a mixture of fruits, vegetables, and meats.
Moreover, turns out, the girl is already engaged! When Whetu gets older, she will be introduced to her fiancé, and they will be placed in the enclosures next to each other. When they get to know each other better, they will have supervised visits until they are ready to move in together! Kiwis generally mate for life.
Isn’t she absolutely adorable? Check out the video to see the little cutie, and please, consider sharing this article.