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. 2017 Sep 15;15(1):85.
doi: 10.1186/s12915-017-0424-0.

Blind Free-Living Kiwi Offer a Unique Window Into the Ecology and Evolution of Vertebrate Vision

Free PMC article

Blind Free-Living Kiwi Offer a Unique Window Into the Ecology and Evolution of Vertebrate Vision

Bret A Moore et al. BMC Biol. .
Free PMC article


The first report of multiple, blind, wild birds in good health suggests vision is not necessary for the survival of kiwi.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Normal and pathologic findings for the anterior segment of the Okarito brown kiwi. Complete ophthalmic examinations consisted of slit lamp biomicroscopy, direct ophthalmoscopy, and streak retinoscopy. Lack of vision was interpreted by no response to light or motion, combined with the severity of ocular lesions (e.g. inability to visualize intraocular structures beyond the abnormal ocular tissue, such as marked corneal or lens opacification). a Normal anterior segment. Note the small palpebral aperture (mean diameter 8.53 ± 0.50 mm SD, n = 9 birds). b Nuclear sclerosis: a normal aging change in the lens associated with changes in lens protein composition. Nuclear sclerosis generally has minimal visual consequences in animals. c Buphthalmia with marked corneal edema. This animal was blind bilaterally but was in good physical condition. d Phthisis bulbi (a globe shrunken with fibrosis). Potential causes include any chronic inflammatory or glaucomatous process or severe trauma. e, f Resorbing, end-stage cataracts. g Anteriorly luxated cataract. h Inferiorly luxated cataract

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    1. Corfield JR, Parsons S, Harimoto Y, Acosta ML. Retinal anatomy of the New Zealand kiwi: structural traits consistent with their nocturnal behavior. Anat Rec. 2015;298:771–9. doi: 10.1002/ar.23080. - DOI - PubMed