Kiwi can refer to a few different things. For example, it’s a fruit that’s sometimes called kiwifruit. It’s also called Chinese gooseberry. These small, egg-shaped fruits have brown skin and bright green flesh with small, black seeds.
Kiwifruit is soft with a sweet, unique taste. They’re part of many tropical recipes. Many people eat kiwifruit for their health benefits. Kiwifruit is a good source of vitamins C, E, and A. They also contain potassium and fiber. Their skin contains antioxidants, and their seeds provide omega-3 fatty acids.
Today, kiwifruit is grown in many different countries. You can find them growing in Italy, Chile, Greece, France, and New Zealand. Speaking of New Zealand, that brings us to another type of kiwi.
People from New Zealand are often called Kiwis. The nickname started with New Zealand military units. Since then, it’s spread to national sports teams and the general population.
Are New Zealanders named after kiwifruit? Nope! The people of New Zealand and kiwifruit both take their names from yet another type of kiwi. It’s a bird that is native to New Zealand. The kiwi bird is also New Zealand’s national symbol!
Are you WONDERing how to keep these kiwis straight? Most New Zealanders capitalize Kiwi when talking about people but not kiwi birds. Likewise, more than one New Zealander would be called Kiwis. More than one bird would be called a kiwi.
Kiwi birds are flightless. They’re about the size of a chicken and are usually brown. Five species of kiwi are native to New Zealand. However, some of the species are endangered. Kiwi is protected in New Zealand by conservation efforts, protected reserves, and national parks.
Kiwi birds tend to be shy and nocturnal. In the wild, they hunt at night to avoid predators. In areas where there are no predators, such as protected reserves, kiwi can be seen during the day, too.
Kiwi birds are the only birds with nostrils at the ends of their unusually-long beaks. It’s no surprise that they have a very keen sense of smell. They tend to eat insects, seeds, worms, fruit, and small amphibians. With their long beaks and a good sense of smell, they can even find food underground.
Female kiwi only lay one egg each season, but it’s a big one! Kiwi eggs can weigh up to one-quarter the weight of the female bird! They’re the world’s biggest eggs relative to the size of the bird!
The next time you bite into a juicy piece of kiwifruit, remember where its name came from. And if you’re ever in New Zealand, try to catch a glimpse of the original kiwi!