286 The Kiwi

Leo talks about this famous bird from New Zealand.


Todd: OK, Leonard, now, when most people think of Kiwi, at least Americans, we think of the fruit.

Leo: Right, right. Also in Japan as well.

Todd: Oh, really! OK. But, uh, people from New Zealand are called Kiwis not because of the fruit I take it.

Leo: That's right. That's right. The nickname for New Zealanders is Kiwi, and actually the Kiwi bird... Kiwi is actually a Maori name, and Maori are the native people of New Zealand.

Todd: Oh, wow!

Leo: And so Kiwi, the pronunciation of Kiwi K-I-W-I KEE-WEE, Maori has similar pronunciation to the Japanese language, ah, ee, uu, eh, oh. They pronounce the vowels.

Todd: OK. I'm..what is Kiwi?

Leo: A kiwi is a nocturnal bird, which only walks, it doesn't fly.

Todd: OK. So nocturnal means it only comes out at night.

Leo: Right. Right. And in the deep forest. Actually, you'd never see a Kiwi if you went to New Zealand, unless you went to the zoo.

Todd: Oh, really!

Leo: Right!

Todd: OK.

Leo: And the brown Kiwi is the most, uh, rarest of them all. They're only I think, there are less than one thousand brown kiwis left.

Todd: Wow. So..

Leo: It can only be found in New Zealand.

Todd: Ok. OK. maybe I missed it but can it fly.

Leo: No, no it can't.

Todd: It can't fly.

Leo: It can only walk.

Todd: Wow, so it only comes out at night...in the deep forest and it can't fly.

Leo: You'd be surprised. If you go to New Zealand, uh, there are over twenty different types of birds that walk.

Todd: Really! That's fascinating. Well, thanks for telling us about the Kiwi.

Leo: You're welcome.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

at least

When people think of Kiwi, at least Americans, they think of the fruit.

We use the phrase 'at least' like this to give more specific information to a general statement.  The sentence isn't talking about all people, it is specifically talking about Americans. Notice the following:

  1. This week, at least Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, he will be very busy.
  2. Most teenagers, at least the students that I have, always have their cell phones with them.

as well

People in Japan think of the Kiwi as a fruit, as well.

'As well' means the same as 'also' and 'too.' Notice the following:

  1. I think I will get a chocolate ice cream as well.
  2. He works at Best Buy as well.

less than

There are less than one thousand brown Kiwis left.

The phrase 'less than' is used with a number to mean the same as 'fewer than.'  It means that the number of Kiwis left is below 1,000. Notice the following:

  1. We have less than a half a tank of gas.
  2. There were less than 50 people at the wedding.


The Kiwi is a nocturnal bird, so it only comes out at night.

Something that is 'nocturnal' is most active during the night. Notice the following:

  1. I am kind of a nocturnal person and enjoy staying up late.
  2. Bats are nocturnal animals.


In New Zealand, there are over twenty different types of birds that walk.

When 'over' is used like this it means 'more than' and is used in combination with a number. Notice the following:

  1. I have over 20 new emails.
  2. You must be tired.  You drove for over ten hours today.


Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
at least • as well • less than
nocturnal • over
  1. Are you starting university in the fall ?
  2. Many schools, or my school , have older teachers working there.
  3. They have to read eight hundred pages this week.
  4. My roommate is much more than I am.
  5. We have a half an hour before we have to leave.