News Good News Baby kiwi undergoes surgery for wonky beak

Baby kiwi undergoes surgery for wonky beak

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A baby kiwi has undergone surgery to fix its wonky beak in New Zealand.

The 580-gram unnamed North Island Brown Kiwi was born with a crooked beak that required lifesaving surgery from veterinarians in Palmerston North.

Veterinarian Dr Roberto Aguilar told New Zealand news station TVNZ that it was a tricky surgery for such a little bird.

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“I’d say personally that nothing is harder in human medicine than dealing with really young babies, and this is a very, very young little kiwi.”

The six-week-old chick had a dramatic start to life after complications with the way she was positioned in the shell.

Photo: AAP.
The baby kiwi underwent lifesaving surgery on her beak. Photo: AAP.

“Her foot was over her head so she wasn’t able to kick out like a regular chick and so we got her out,” said Kiwi Birdlife Park Manager Nicole Kunzmann.

While the wonky beak is unrelated to the breach position she managed to get herself into, it quickly became clear that the kiwi would also need surgery so that she could feed herself.

“The tip of the lower bill had not only deviated sideways like the end of a hockey stick, but had also begun to curl upwards,” Dr Brett Gartrell told 3 News New Zealand.

The medical team at Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital suggested employing a brand new technique to fix the bird’s crooked beak.

“Instead of trying to fix the bone, what the surgeon did is place a very small pin at the tip of the beak,” said Dr Aguilar.

Air New Zealand flew her across the country from Queenstown to Palmerston North for two surgeries on the sensitive tip of her beak.

And after four weeks recovery, she took two flights home with her own seat in the main cabin.

The chick is only the third bird in the world to have this type of operation.

The Kiwi Birdlife Park in Queenstown is running a competition to name the little fighter.

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