Oh, the Shell With It

A rare brown kiwi has hatched at the National Zoo.

9 photos
Smithsonian Institution
A brown kiwi hatched at the National Zoo early on Tuesday, March 30. One of the world’s most endangered species, the brown kiwi is also notable for the awesome way it can bend its neck.
Smithsonian Institution
Here's the chick toweling off after a hatching session. Keepers had been monitoring the kiwi egg's progress since it was laid Jan. 19.
Smithsonian Institution
This is only the fourth time in the zoo’s history that a kiwi has successfully hatched. The first, in 1975, was also the first hatching outside of New Zealand.
Smithsonian Institution
National Zoo geneticist Nancy Rotzel took a DNA sample from the newborn kiwi's empty eggshell. Geneticists should be able to determine the chick's sex in coming weeks.
Smithsonian Institution
The sex of brown kiwi chicks can't be determined visually until they're two years old. Obviously, we could never stand the suspense.
Kiwis in captivity are extremely rare, and the National Zoo is currently the only U.S. zoo to have a successfully breeding female. Good job, mama!
Smithsonian Institution
Go here to see an amazing video of what we can only consider an "egg ultrasound."
Smithsonian Institution
Says the Smithsonian's Flickr page: "One of the ways zookeepers check to see if the chick is alive is to put a pencil on top of the egg. When the chick moves in its shell, the pencil moves. This process is called strawing."
NBC 5 News
Bird House keeper Kathy Brader holds the chick. If you need any help, we can help hold it, too.
Contact Us