Flightless Birds and their Capabilities


Birds belong to the skies, but some species have lost their flying abilities, despite of having wings, due to evolution. You may already know about penguins and ostriches being flightless birds. There are many birds and their species that have been classified as flightless. Here’s a look at some of the flightless birds and their capabilities.


The ostrich, the largest bird and a swift runner, is one of the flightless birds and their capabilities are well-known. These birds also lay the largest of eggs. Their powerful kick can kill a human, thanks to their solid legs, which they use for self-defence.


This huge bird, known as the second largest flightless bird, belongs to Australia. Often confused with ostrich, emu has a thick coat of feathers on its neck and dark feathers on head. Emu’s are capable of living for weeks in the absence of food and water. Their long legs enable them to run swiftly, long distances. Emu’s belongs to a family which includes cassowary, a flightless bird as well.


This bird is also large, but next in size to Emu. Their shyness is well-known, but when they feel threatened, they can become deadly. Cassowaries can also run fast and attack you with their claw, which can be as long and sharp like a dagger. They have casques on top of their head, that appear as colourful crowns and thick plumage on their backs.


Penguins are undoubtedly the cutest in the category of flightless birds. Other species of penguin family are all flightless as well. Penguins have evolved as excellent swimmers and divers. Their waddling style arises from their body’s natural build. Not all species of penguins live in the coldest regions. Some can found in temperate climates as well.


Brown-colored birds known as kiwis belong to New Zealand. They may appear like chickens, but with no wings. Kiwis possess hidden wings, and their bodies appear completely covered with hair, which is actually feathers. The female kiwis can lay eggs that are large in both size and weight. This is the largest any bird can lay, compared to body size.

Steamer duck

These birds have four species, with three of them categorized as flightless. They got this name by the way of flapping their short wings in water and paddling, which enables them to move swiftly. Steamer ducks can be very aggressive and get into brutal battles with other male birds when they come into their territories. Their wings may be short and not capable of flight, but steamer birds can utilise them in different ways of thrashing.


Weka are flightless birds found in New Zealand. These birds are large and brownish in color. They are good swimmers and are known for their inquisitive personalities. They may steal food, shiny objects and other things, out of curiosity. Wekas are a food source for some communities and their feathers are worn as clothes.  


These birds belonging to New Zealand, earlier thought to be extinct were rediscovered in the Murchison mountains. Takahe has a red beak and beautiful green and blue feathers. Their lifespan is said to be 20 years, which is quite long for a bird.


This is another flightless bird that is found in New Zealand. Kakapos are known as owl parrots as they resemble an owl. These unusual parrots walk like ducks and live on the ground. Their strong legs enable them to leap and climb even the tallest trees. Then they use their wings as a parachute to come down.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here