SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Zoo Safari Park experienced a first for one of its bird species: the hatching of the North Island brown kiwi.

Wildlife officials Thursday announced their excitement over the birth of the male chick on June 13.

“Northern Island brown kiwis are notoriously difficult to breed in human care, and this is the first time we have hatched this species at the Safari Park,” Andrew Stehly, curator of birds at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, said in a news release. “While it is a success for our dedicated team of wildlife care specialists, more importantly, this hatching allows us to learn more about the North Island brown kiwi, further contributing to the conservation efforts for this species.”

The North Island brown kiwi is a flightless bird that makes its home in burrows in the ground, according to the San Diego Wildlife Alliance. Mostly nocturnal, it feeds at night on worms and other invertebrates.

“The kiwi is the national icon of New Zealand,” zoo officials said. “There are five species of kiwi, and they are protected by law in their native country.”

Despite the legal protection, kiwi numbers are in decline and the species is deemed “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance states. The decrease of the bird is believed to be mostly due to predation by non-native species such as cats and dogs.

Zoo officials say the young male chick is reportedly doing well and will be monitored by specialists for the next several weeks.