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Extreme drought forcing some kiwi to abandon eggs in order to find food and water

Extreme drought conditions in Northland are forcing kiwi to abandon their eggs to save their own lives.

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A Northland bird recovery centre has received seven eggs this summer, as adult kiwi struggle to find food and water. Source: 1 NEWS

A Northland bird recovery centre has received seven eggs this summer as adult kiwi struggle to find food and water and are forced to walk away from their young chicks.

One chick was still in its egg when he was found abandoned in the hot sun in Pukenui Western Hills just outside of Whangarei.

Another was found in Matapouri further north, a weak chick inside, the membrane around him dry and tough.

Robert Webb, of the Whangārei 'Bird Recovery Centre says he's received seven kiwi eggs this summer - the four fertile ones have all successfully hatched.

"The last thing you need to do to a kiwi chick is hand hatch it but I would prefer to hand hatch it than to see it die a slow death in the end," he said. 

Kiwi run their bills along wet forest floors to forage for bugs and collect water but dry conditions have turned the ground rock hard.

They're leaving the bush and raiding troughs and shallow dishes in back yards.

"It's getting critical, there is no water around," Mr Webb said. 

Parts of the Far North have recorded their second driest summer on record.

The highest water restrictions are now being imposed with many urged to reduce their water use by 25 per cent.

1 News weather expert Dan Corbett says rain is still weeks away.

“Expect showers but the real rain isn’t coming until about April and it’s going to take a lot of water to make the ground soft again,” he said.