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Hotspot:New Zealand

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Hotspot: New Zealand Zoom In 1

Namesake for a Nation
Photograph by Frans Lanting

Rare, endemic, and beloved, the kiwi has become a nickname for anyone hailing from New Zealand. But the flightless bird shares more than a name with its fellow humans: Zoologists consider it the most mammal-like of any bird. A distant cousin of emus and ostriches, kiwis slowly lost the physiology of a flying bird, adopting instead that of a ground dweller. They have marrow in their heavy bones rather than the hollow spaces that characterize the bones of most other birds. Their body temperature is closer to that of mammals. They grow plumage that resembles fur more than feathers. And females have two ovaries, whereas birds normally have just one. Says Jane Healy of the Auckland Zoo: “The kiwi is often called an honorary mammal.”

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Nikon
Film Type: Fujichrome
Lens: 105mm
Speed and F-Stop: Unrecorded
Weather Conditions: Unrecorded
Time of Day: Night
Lighting Techniques: Flash

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