Physical Characteristics

Kiwis (KEE-weez) are about the size of a chicken. They range in height from 14 to 22 inches (35 to 55 centimeters) and weigh 2.6 to 8.6 pounds (1.2 to 3.9 kilograms). They have brown and black hair-like feathers, no tail, and four toes.

Kiwis are the smallest of a group of birds called ratites, flightless birds that have a flat breastbone rather than a keeled (curved) breastbone like birds of flight. They have a simplified wing bone structure, strong legs, and no feather vanes, the barbs that make up each feather, making it unnecessary to oil the feathers. Consequently, they have no preen gland, which normally contains preening oil.

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