The Kiwi is a real Natural Oddity. It may be a bird, but it fills the niche of a mammal. Its body temperature is lower than most birds, and its feathers are made of loose fillaments, not interlocked ones, like most birds. It cannot fly - doesn't even have wings to speak of. it prods with its bill in the leaflitter, searching for bugs and grubs, clearing its nostrils by snuffling. It is the only bird with the nostrils at the tip of its beak. Kiwis are monogamous, and the egg is the largest in proportion to any bird*. Once the female has laid the egg, she goes off to eat (she's had to eat a lot to help the egg production and then fast towards the end because her stomach is compacted due to the egg) and the male does the incubating (in almost all the species). The chick that hatches is a miniature kiwi, almost ready to fend for itself.
* In Port Douglas the guide there declared this particular "claim" true of the Brush Turkey of Australia . It's not. Brush Turkey eggs weight 180 gms and the average weight is 2274 gm (less than 10% - 8% to be precise). However, the Brush Turkey can lay more than 3 times its weight in eggs. The brown kiwi on the other hand, lays one egg weighing 450 g, whereas she weights around 2800 gm (making the egg 16%).
The kea is a large parrot endemic to New Zealand (almost exclusively the South Island, though vagrants make it up to the North), that is currently listed as Vulnerable. Unusually, the kea is an alpine parrot (unusual for parrots), though is also found in lowland regions as well. The kea is perhaps most well-known for its mischievousness; which combined with its neophilia, can make it a pest in many tourist areas (where it will steal things, destroy the rubber and fixings on cars, and generally explore in a destructive manner). The kea has an unusually high mortality rate in its first few years, though it has survived for longer than fifty years in captivity. They are generally polygamous, semi-nocturnal, and are omnivores with a varied diet.
KEA – The Rapscallion
Clowning around, neophilia (love of new things), novelty, Aquarian energy, mischievousness, cheekiness, being a rapscallion, alpine wisdom and mythology, teasing others and being teased, good-natured ribbing, life is short, enjoying the moment while it lasts.
18.5 x 20.5cm (or 7.4 x 8 in) illo's board, fineliner, aquarelle, pencil, metallic and iridescent paint
Okay, I'm officially addicted to Postcrossing. It's going to help me get my art into at least another dozen countries (I'm currently on 45). Now my first lot of postcards sent are getting registered, I'm actively hunting down people in interesting countries and offering to send them stuff. This one is for a fellow in Bulgaria.
He collects Map Cards, so I decided it was high time I made one. The actual map was printed off a website very lightly to get proportions correct. Everything else has natural, cultural or architectual NZ values.
Featured are: Buzzy Bee - popular children's toy, first made in 1948. Pavlova - meringue dessert named after a ballerina. NOT invented in Australia. Despite what THEY say. Tuatara - ancient reptile that has been unchanged for Millenium Greenstone Tiki - maori carving Cabbage Tree - native plant with irritating leaves (don't decompose and can't go in compost) Chocolate fish - yummy snack Maori Pa - Traditional meeting house Bone Fishhook - Maori jewelery - it is placed next to Hawkes Bay because that's said to be the fish hook that caught Maui's fish (the North Island) Beehive - our Parliamentary Building, In Wellington. Kina - dead sea creature Kiwi - very weird and unique bird Silver Fern and Koru - natural AND cultura significance.
I will likely be using prints of this to decorate greeting cards etc when I post out stuff as well.