Can You Have A Kiwi Bird As A Pet? Everything You Need To Know

Kiwis are unique and exotic birds from New Zealand that have intrigued pet owners for decades. With their fluffy brown feathers and long beaks perfect for sniffing out insects, they can make for interesting pets.

However, kiwis also have some very specific care requirements that make them challenging to own.

If you’re looking for a quick answer: kiwis do not make good pets for most owners. Their nocturnal nature, strict dietary needs, sensitive respiratory system and hefty price tag mean they are better suited to zoos and conservation centers.

Kiwis Are Nocturnal and Have Sensitive Respiratory Systems

Kiwis, the iconic flightless birds of New Zealand, have some unique characteristics that make them both fascinating and challenging as pets. Two important things to consider before considering a kiwi bird as a pet are their nocturnal behavior and their sensitive respiratory systems.

Kiwis are nocturnal and sleep during the day

One of the first things to know about kiwis is that they are nocturnal creatures. This means they are most active during the night and prefer to sleep during the day. If you’re a night owl yourself, this might not be a problem.

However, if you prefer a pet that is active and sociable during the day, a kiwi bird may not be the best choice for you.

Kiwis have adapted to their nocturnal lifestyle due to the lack of natural predators in New Zealand. During the day, they find shelter in burrows or dense vegetation to protect themselves from potential threats.

This behavior can make it challenging to provide the right environment for a kiwi bird in a domestic setting.

Kiwis are prone to respiratory infections in captivity

Another important consideration when it comes to kiwi birds as pets is their sensitive respiratory systems. Kiwis have evolved to live in the clean and fresh air of the New Zealand forests, and they are not well-suited to environments with a high level of pollutants or irritants.

Keeping a kiwi bird in captivity requires a carefully controlled environment with excellent air quality. This means avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke, strong chemicals, and other environmental pollutants.

Even small amounts of these substances can lead to respiratory infections and other health issues for kiwis.

It’s important to note that kiwis are protected birds in New Zealand, and it is illegal to keep them as pets without the necessary permits and licenses. Additionally, kiwis have specific dietary and environmental requirements that can be difficult to meet in a home setting.

If you are truly passionate about kiwi birds and want to support their conservation, there are other ways to get involved. Consider supporting local conservation organizations or visiting wildlife sanctuaries where you can learn more about these incredible birds in their natural habitat.

Kiwis Have a Strict Dietary Requirement

When it comes to feeding a kiwi bird, it’s important to understand their strict dietary requirements. These adorable flightless birds have specific nutritional needs that must be met in order for them to thrive in captivity.

Kiwis enjoy a varied diet of insects and grubs

One key aspect of a kiwi bird’s diet is a variety of insects and grubs. In the wild, kiwis spend their days foraging for these small creatures, which make up a significant portion of their diet. If you’re considering having a kiwi as a pet, it’s important to provide them with a similar diet to what they would find in their natural habitat.

A diet rich in insects and grubs can be achieved by feeding your pet kiwi a combination of live mealworms, crickets, and earthworms. These can be purchased from pet stores or online suppliers, ensuring that your kiwi receives the necessary nutrients they need to thrive.

Supplements are needed to provide proper nutrition

In addition to insects and grubs, kiwis also require supplements to ensure they receive proper nutrition. One important supplement is calcium, which is crucial for maintaining healthy bones and strong eggshells in female kiwis.

Calcium can be provided in the form of powdered supplements mixed with their food or by offering cuttlebone for them to peck at.

Another essential supplement for kiwis is vitamin E, which helps support their immune system and overall health. This can be easily obtained by offering a variety of fruits, such as kiwi fruit, papaya, and berries. These fruits not only provide vitamin E but also add variety to your pet’s diet.

It’s important to consult with an avian veterinarian or a knowledgeable bird expert to ensure you are meeting all of your kiwi’s dietary needs. They can provide guidance on the specific supplements and quantities required to keep your feathered friend healthy and happy.

Remember, keeping a kiwi bird as a pet requires a commitment to providing a proper diet that mimics their natural food sources. With the right knowledge and care, you can create a suitable diet plan that will contribute to the well-being of your pet kiwi.

Kiwis Require Plenty of Space to Thrive

Kiwis are territorial and need adequate space

Kiwis, the iconic flightless birds native to New Zealand, require plenty of space to thrive in a domestic setting. These birds are known for their territorial nature, and they need enough room to establish their own territory and exhibit their natural behaviors.

A cramped living space can lead to stress and behavioral problems in kiwis, so it’s important to provide them with a suitable environment.

According to the Department of Conservation in New Zealand, kiwis require an enclosure that is at least 4 square meters in size. This allows them to move around, forage for food, and explore their surroundings comfortably.

Additionally, the enclosure should have a high ceiling to accommodate the kiwi’s long beak and allow them to move freely.

Kiwi enclosures should mimic their natural environment

When creating an enclosure for a pet kiwi bird, it’s essential to mimic their natural environment as closely as possible. This means providing them with a mix of vegetation, including native plants and trees, to create a suitable habitat.

Kiwis are ground-dwelling birds, so the enclosure should have areas with tall grass, leaf litter, and logs for them to hide and nest in.

Additionally, it’s important to maintain a suitable temperature and humidity level within the enclosure. Kiwis are adapted to the cool, moist climate of New Zealand, so keeping the enclosure at a moderate temperature and providing regular misting can help replicate their natural habitat.

It’s worth noting that kiwis are nocturnal birds, so providing them with a dark and quiet space to rest during the day is crucial. This can be achieved by covering part of the enclosure or providing a separate sleeping area.

Owning a Kiwi Comes with a Hefty Price Tag

While the idea of having a kiwi bird as a pet may seem exciting to some, it’s important to understand that owning a kiwi comes with a hefty price tag. From the initial purchase to the ongoing costs of care, there are several financial considerations to keep in mind.

Purchase price for a kiwi is very high

One of the main reasons why owning a kiwi can be expensive is the high purchase price. Kiwi birds are native to New Zealand and are protected under the country’s laws. As a result, obtaining a kiwi legally can be a challenging and costly process.

The price of a kiwi bird can range anywhere from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on factors such as age, sex, and species.

It’s important to note that the purchase of a kiwi should only be done through legal channels to ensure the bird’s welfare and conservation efforts. Buying a kiwi from illegal sources not only contributes to the black market but also poses a risk to the bird’s well-being.

Proper kiwi care and enclosures are expensive

Aside from the initial purchase price, owning a kiwi bird requires investing in proper care and enclosures. Kiwis have specific dietary and environmental needs that must be met to ensure their well-being.

This includes providing a suitable habitat with ample space, appropriate temperature, and access to a varied diet.

Creating an appropriate enclosure for a kiwi can be a costly endeavor. It requires specialized materials, expert guidance, and regular maintenance to ensure the bird’s safety and comfort. Additionally, kiwis are known to have long lifespans, often living up to 20-30 years in captivity.

This means that the cost of maintaining their enclosures and providing for their needs will be a long-term financial commitment.

It’s essential to consult with experts in kiwi care and conservation to understand the specific requirements of owning a kiwi bird. They can provide valuable guidance on creating a suitable environment and managing the associated costs.

Kiwi Ownership Has Strict Regulations

Kiwis cannot legally be exported from New Zealand

Owning a kiwi bird as a pet may seem like a fascinating idea, but it’s important to understand that there are strict regulations surrounding their ownership. One of the primary regulations is that kiwis cannot legally be exported from New Zealand.

The kiwi is a national symbol of New Zealand and is protected under the country’s conservation laws. This means that if you are outside of New Zealand, obtaining a kiwi bird as a pet may be nearly impossible.

According to the Department of Conservation in New Zealand, exporting kiwi birds without proper authorization can result in hefty fines and even imprisonment. These regulations are in place to protect the kiwi population and ensure their survival in their natural habitat.

Special permits are required to own kiwis in most countries

In addition to the restrictions on exporting kiwis from New Zealand, owning a kiwi bird as a pet in most countries requires special permits. These permits are typically issued by wildlife or conservation authorities and are only granted under specific circumstances.

The process of obtaining a permit for owning a kiwi as a pet can be quite rigorous. It often involves demonstrating your ability to provide appropriate care for the bird, ensuring that it will be kept in a suitable environment, and proving that you have the necessary knowledge and experience to meet its unique needs.

It is important to note that owning a kiwi bird as a pet is not suitable for everyone. Kiwis are native to New Zealand and have specific dietary and environmental requirements that must be met in order to ensure their well-being.

They are also nocturnal birds, which means they have different activity patterns compared to diurnal pets such as dogs or cats.

For more information on the regulations surrounding kiwi ownership, you can visit the official website of the Department of Conservation in New Zealand.


While kiwis are certainly fascinating creatures, they do not make suitable pets for owners without specialized facilities and expertise. Their exotic needs, nocturnal schedule, sensitivity to illness and protected status mean that kiwis are best left in the care of zoos and conservation centers.

For those looking for an unusual pet bird, other options like parrots or toucans can make for more practical, rewarding companions.

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