10 Fascinating Things I Didn't Know about Kiwi

(until I read the Wikipedia article about them)

1) Though flightless, they do actually have wings. It’s just that the wings are so small you can’t see them through the general featheriness.

2) They don’t, however, have tails.

3) Unlike most birds, they have marrow in their bones (which makes them stronger but heavier). Strong legs, though – look at those talons!

4) They’re monogamous. Their relationships last longer than a lot of human ones, and that’s even before you take the shorter lifespan into account. Plus they call to each other in the night during mating season. (All together now: awww…)

5) They belong to the same family as cassowaries, ostriches and emus. (Imagine the difficulty of getting everyone in the same shot at family reunions.)

6) The female kiwi takes about a month to make The Egg, during which she has to eat about three times as much as usual. Except for the last few days, because by that time the egg is so big there’s no room left for food inside her insides.

7) The egg is massive: up to a quarter of the mother’s weight. If humans did that, it would be like giving birth to a four-year-old. Ouch. (By contrast, the female kangaroo, who weighs about a third as much as your average woman, gives birth to a baby the size of a jellybean. Good thinking, kangaroo.) It’s like the kiwi used to be ostriches, and the eggs haven’t adapted yet.

Kiwi, ostrich, Dinornis
Kiwi, ostrich, giant moa.

8) The father does most of the childcare (and by childcare I mean sitting on the egg like a tea-cosy and waiting for something to happen).

9) There’s a giant kiwi hill figure in Bulford, in Wiltshire. And by giant I mean it’s about 129.55 metres taller than the largest kind of actual kiwi. (Note: actual kiwi are not normally measured in acres.)

Bulford Kiwi10) They live in burrows. Small, round & hairy hole-dwellers: yes, they’re basically hobbit-birds.

One last thing, though, and it’s very important: you should never put a kiwi in a fruit salad. Kiwifruit, yes. Kiwi no. I know it’s confusing, what with them both being small, round, brown and fuzzy, but kiwi are endangered. Kiwifruit aren’t. Being a small, round, brown fuzzy Kiwi myself, I am very clear on this point: leave the kiwi out of the salad.

How to Tell if an Egg is Bad

If they are engaging in cyber-bullying or promoting the spread of the international slave trade, a Bad Egg classification is straightforward.
But what of those more domestic eggs that sit so silently in your pantry? How can you know what secrets lurk within their albumen?

There are varying theories, some more odd than others. Some say you should shine a strong light through it to see if there’s a chick inside. Others suggest shaking the egg to hear if it sloshes (it shouldn’t), or spinning it (it should stop after you touch its centre-point), or plopping it into water to see if it sinks (bad eggs are alleged to float).

With half a dozen suspect eggs on our hands, we decided to conduct an experiment. We tried the spinning, the shaking, and the sinking; before finally using the most reliable of all tests: cracking the eggs open. (Outside.) Results? Mixed.

Smiley Egg HeadEgg #1 spun plentifully, gave a faint ‘thunka’ noise when shaken, and sank – on an angle. Bad egg

Egg #2 also spun plentifully, sloshed when shaken (although this may have been due to the vigour of the shaking) and stood on end under water as all good eggs should. It was a passable egg – not fresh, but not rotten. Call it a curate’s egg.
(Revd John Jones, curate Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd?) (1879) NLW3364461

Egg #3 spun less, kept quiet when shaken, and stood on end under water.

Good egg

Egg #4 spun lots, kept quiet when shaken, and stood on end under water.

Bad egg

Egg #5 spun less, made a little bumping noise on being shaken, and sank on an angle. Good egg

Egg #6 spun a bit, kept quiet, and sank upright after bobbing.

(Revd John Jones, curate Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd?) (1879) NLW3364461


An egg which sinks on an angle could be good or bad. An egg which sinks on end could be good, bad or indifferent. Not a very reliable test.

An egg which makes a noise when shaken could be good, bad or indifferent. An egg which remains silent could be good, bad or indifferent. Again, not a very reliable test.

An egg which spins a little could be indifferent or good. An egg which spins a lot could be indifferent or bad.

The obvious conclusions to draw are that spinning provides the closest thing to a working test, out of the three we sampled; and that simulated drowning and the use of force do not produce reliable information.


What methods have you tried for testing your eggs? Found anything that works?

Bad Eggsperiences

Beautiful woman with grimace beacuse of bad smell. Isolated on white.
(I apologize.)
My worst-ever egg-experience was the result of running short mid-baking. I dashed down to the nearest shop – one I seldom visited – and bought a dozen. Only to discover, when I got home, that four of them were rotten!

What’s the worst bad-egg experience you’ve ever had? Horrify us all!