As rain falls in parts of drought-hit Northland video has emerged of a kiwi drinking its fill of water as it stands in a stream in broad daylight.

The video was taken in Bay of Islands bush on Wednesday morning as creeks started filling up for the first time since December.

It shows a kiwi bathing up to its belly in water, repeatedly dipping its beak in the stream and throwing its head back to gulp down the precious liquid.

Kiwi are normally nocturnal birds, but the region's drought has seen them coming out in daylight in search of food and water.

Advertisement

The stream had been completely dry a day earlier.

''It's rejoicing. The creek's filled up,'' a voice can be heard saying on the video.

A video taken in Bay of Islands bush during this week's rain shows a kiwi up to its belly in a creek drinking its fill of water. Photo / supplied
A video taken in Bay of Islands bush during this week's rain shows a kiwi up to its belly in a creek drinking its fill of water. Photo / supplied

READ MORE:
Hungry Northland kiwi foraging in daylight - again
Northland kiwi struggling to keep cool in big dry
Northland wild kiwi population enhanced with four more birds released this week

Brad Windust, of Paihia, said a friend spotted the kiwi while working in the Bay of Islands bush.

''You could feel the sense of relief as it rained. Birds were singing and I saw a couple of moreporks having a good old bath,'' he said.

''It's such a happy little video but it's actually really sad, because of the hardship the forest and the things that dwell in it are going through."

"The wildlife has all been doing it really, really hard. I've seen big kānuka, tree ferns, and mahoe twice as big as me that have died — and that's in Bay of Islands coastal bush which is adapted to dry conditions.''

Windust, one of the founders of conservation group Bay Bush Action, said he had also noticed a huge decrease in cicadas this summer.

Advertisement

Cicada nymphs were a source of food for kiwi so the birds were hungry as well as dehydrated.

Windust said people who lived in kiwi areas could put out containers in dry areas and keep them topped up with fresh water. A large rock in the container would ensure any kiwi chicks that fell in could get out again.

They should also keep their dogs and cats out of the bush and keep up their pest control.

A forest with good pest control had a thicker canopy and undergrowth which stopped sun reaching the forest floor and preserved moisture.

Windust said the Bay had received about 24mm of rain since Wednesday.

''But we really, really need a lot more than that. For wildlife the drought isn't over yet.''

Kiwi Coast Far North coordinator Lesley Baigent said the birds were resorting to a variety of survival tactics to get through the big dry.

They were roosting in cool, damp areas like drains or culverts, in rock crevices and hollows in stream banks.

Some male kiwi are sitting on eggs at the entrance to their burrows, possibly in an effort to keep cool. Photo / Todd Hamilton
Some male kiwi are sitting on eggs at the entrance to their burrows, possibly in an effort to keep cool. Photo / Todd Hamilton

Adult males had been seen sitting at their burrow entrances during the day, possibly to stop their eggs overheating, while egg-carrying females had been spotted sitting in streams.

''Whether this is to cool the body or take the weight off their legs is unknown. It's hard work carrying the world's largest egg per body size in this heat,'' Baigent said.

Kiwi also employed cooling techniques used by other animals such as panting and feather-fluffing.

They were spending more time foraging and emerging from their burrows in daylight hours because food and water were harder to find.

Some birds, adult males and juvenile females especially, were underweight and in poor condition as a result of the drought, Baigent said.