Interesting Facts About Flightless Birds

Here are some things you may not know about flightless birds.

Our planet is home to over 10,000 species of birds. What is interesting is that many of them cannot fly. Here are some interesting facts about flightless birds you may not be aware of.

New Zealand has the largest number of flightless birds

New Zealand is said to have the largest number of flightless birds species compared to anywhere else on the globe. You can find birds like kiwis, penguins, takahe, and Kakapo parrot. This land flourished with flightless birds because there weren’t many land predators before humans arrived on the scene. Unfortunately, many flightless birds that were discovered in New Zealand are extinct.

Flightless birds can be fast on the ground

While they may not be able to fly, flightless birds have incredible ground speed. The ostrich and the cassowary are reportedly some of the fastest running birds in the world. The cassowary and ostrich are said to have an average ground speed of around 31 mph.

Ratites are the largest category of flightless birds

Ratites are reportedly the main category of bird species that are unable to fly. There are over 60 different birds in this diverse group. The ostrich, rhea, emu, cassowary, and kiwi are just some of them. The reason the birds in this category are unable to fly is that their breastbones are too flat. Such birds tend to have a reduced-sized or no keel on their breastbone, which makes prevents them from developing the pectoral muscles that are required to fly. These birds have also been found to have smaller wing bones compared to those birds that can fly.

Penguins are not part of the ratite category

Penguins do not belong to the ratite family because they have developed in a way that is different from the ratites. What is interesting is that even though penguins are flightless their anatomy is similar to birds that can fly, unlike ratites. While their wingspan is large enough for them to fly, it offers them the ability to swim and glide through the water easily.

The world’s only flightless parrot

The Kakapo parrot is the only parrot in the world that cannot fly. It is one of New Zealand’s natural treasures. It is often referred to as the owl as this parrot is nocturnal. The kakapo has large feet and is unable to fly because its wingspan is not large enough.

Darielle Britto

Darielle Britto has been in the world of journalism since 2014 — covering everything from breaking news to lifestyle for some of India's top publications. Currently, she focuses on all things food, fashion, travel, home, health, design and offbeat.
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