Devon

Paignton Zoo displays Manu, the 'UK's only' kiwi bird

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Media captionThe endangered bird, named Manu, has come to Paignton Zoo from Frankfurt Zoo in Germany

The UK's only flightless kiwi bird has been put on show to the public at a zoo in Devon.

The endangered bird, named Manu, has come to Paignton Zoo from Frankfurt Zoo in Germany.

Before the bird arrived local metal detectors were used to check the new enclosure for "potentially dangerous bits of metal", the zoo said.

The bird, which lives in the wild in New Zealand and probes the soil for food, is the country's national symbol.

'Lays largest egg'

Jo Gregson, curator of birds. said: "Kiwis need special care and attention and the substrate is important because they probe down into the ground.

"You have to sieve sand and check dry leaves before you put them in."

Image copyright Paignton Zoo
Image caption The bird is about the size of a domestic chicken and is part of the bird family that includes the ostrich, emu, rhea and cassowary

Conservationists allocate males to collections so zoo staff can perfect their rearing skills before they can apply to keep a pair.

Ms Gregson said: "It will be at least two years before we are in that position, but kiwis can live for more than 40 years.

The zoo has put up a TV screen near the Avian Breeding Centre to help visitors catch a glimpse of five-year-old Manu, who sleeps during the day.

Image copyright Paignton Zoo
Image caption The endangered bird, which lives in the wild in New Zealand, has come to Paignton Zoo from Frankfurt Zoo in Germany

The zoo said: "(Kiwis)... lay the largest egg in relation to body size of any bird in the world - an egg can weigh a quarter of the bird's body mass.

"This is like a human mother giving birth to a baby the size of a four-year-old."

The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) said London Zoo had previously kept one kiwi, but Paignton was the only zoo to currently keep the species.

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