Zoo Welcomes Pair of Kiwis

The ambassador of New Zealand was on hand for the transition.

5 photos
Smithsonian National Zoo
The National Zoo welcomed a new pair of rare kiwis on July 16 -- a male named Tamatahi and a female named Hinetu. Both birds came from the Ngati Hine people in New Zealand. When the birds die, they will be sent back to the tribe for burial.
Courtesy of family
Two female chicks hatched at the zoo in March 2010. There are only 16 female brown kiwis in zoos outside New Zealand, says the zoo.
Seth Kaplan
New Zealand Ambassador Roy Ferguson officially handed over the kiwis to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute at the zoo's facility in Front Royal, Va.
One of the kiwis is released into its new yard.
Smithsonian National Zoo
Says the Zoo: "Brown kiwis are nocturnal, ground-dwelling, flightless birds whose adaptations more similarly resemble mammals than birds. They have specialized feathers around their face that look like whiskers, a keen sense of smell, good hearing and are the only bird with nostrils at the end of their beak. In addition, brown kiwis lay the largest eggs of all birds in relation to their body size."
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