Can You Own a Kiwi Bird in The US?

Since kiwi birds are classified as an endangered species, they are illegal to own in the United States. The nocturnal nature of kiwi birds and their introverted personality would make them unsuitable as a pet.

The unconditional love of a pet is like nothing else. Owning a pet has many advantages, including improved physical and mental health.

However, it is difficult to decide what type of pet is right for you. Domesticated pets like cats, dogs, and fish are popular in the US. However, exotic pets are becoming more common.

An exotic animal that many individuals in the US would like to own is a kiwi bird. We can’t blame anyone for wanting to own a kiwi bird. They are absolutely adorable!

Unfortunately, kiwis are on the verge of extinction and are protected by the US and international conservation laws. Therefore, keeping them as pets is illegal in the US.

What is a Kiwi Bird?

As far as we know, the kiwi bird is one of the longest living species. They are from the Apteryx family and have a lifespan of up to 50 years. Two unique facts about the kiwi bird are that they can’t fly and are nocturnal.

This bird resides in New Zealand and is the “national bird.” The kiwi bird symbolizes New Zealand’s unique wildlife and indigenous cultures.

The kiwi was often referred to as “Tane” or “god of the forest.” It is short with vestigial wings and a long slender bill.

As a result of living in diverse habitats, kiwis consume a wide range of foods, including fish, insects, berries, seeds, and occasionally fungi. For survival, they are highly dependent on sight.

Kiwis are currently facing extinction due to three main factors: deforestation from increasing human populations, fragmented kiwi populations, and predators.

Who Can Own a Kiwi Bird in The US?

In the United States, kiwi birds are illegal to own as household pets. Only strictly licensed organizations with well-trained professionals can handle kiwis.

The process to obtain a license to own a kiwi is not only lengthy but tedious. Since the kiwi is highlighted as a flagship species for conservation by over 90 animal welfare groups, it is nearly impossible to receive a license to care for kiwis.

The Accreditation Commission is responsible for any zoo, animal rehabilitation sanctuaries, and aquariums that meet the AZA standards to promote animal welfare, proper care facilities, and evaluate veterinary care and management.

Each candidate for accreditation must fill out a detailed questionnaire and show legal documentation of protocols, procedures, records, lists, and inventory reports. The overall process takes about six months to complete and evaluate by the commission.

If eligible, the commission sends a team of inspectors, including animal experts, operation experts, and veterinarians. The inspectors conduct interviews with the current staff, inspect facilities, check records, and assess animal welfare. Upon completion, the inspectors write a detailed report determining final eligibility.

Since the kiwi bird is on the brink of extinction, animal habitat is a major consideration. The kiwi lives in New Zealand’s swampy lands and is unable to fly. Kiwi birds create “their home” in underground burrows.

Another requirement to own a kiwi is that all animal caretakers must take a course that details proper medical, animal care, and reproductive ecology. Learning about the kiwi’s reproductive ecology is most important because it will help ensure a rise in the kiwi population.

Despite all this, many hopeful animal enthusiasts can still “own” a kiwi bird through adoption agencies. These non-profit adoption agencies seek sponsors to fund, support, and have access to virtual footage of their kiwi. Although it’s not the same as having one at home, you can still take pride in knowing you’re helping support the kiwi bird population.

Kiwis Don’t Make Great Pets

You may be upset to learn you can’t own a kiwi bird in the US, but you probably wouldn’t want to even if you could.

We get it, kiwis are incredibly adorable. However, that doesn’t mean they would be good pets. The kiwi is a very shy bird that prefers isolation. Kiwis are also very territorial, making them very aggressive when anyone crosses their path.

Another reason a kiwi would not make a good pet is that they are nocturnal, which means you won’t be able to interact with them during the day, and they will keep you up at night.

Although owning a kiwi bird would be a unique experience, the kiwi is an exotic animal with the same qualities as any wild animal, making it difficult to upkeep in a domestic environment.

Owning a Kiwi Bird is Illegal in the US

New Zealand’s kiwi bird is widely regarded as a country’s symbol. It represents the country’s history, cultural beliefs, and indigenous roots, and it has gained popularity among the public. Unfortunately, kiwi birds are on the verge of extinction, making them illegal to own in most countries, including the US.

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