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. Thera are many birds and their species that have been classified as flightless. Here’s a look at some of them.


The largest bird and a fastest runner, ostrich is well known for many of its capabilities. These birds also lay the largest of eggs. Their legs are so strong that they can use them for defending themselves and their powerful kick is known to kill a human as well.


Belonging to Australia, this huge bird is known as the second largest flightless bird. 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. They are known to be shy in nature, but can prove to be deadly, when they feel threatened. 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 is attributed to their body’s natural build. Not all species of penguins live in the coldest regions. Some can found in temperate climates as well.


Kiwis are brown colored birds that belong to New Zealand. They may appear like chickens, but with no wings. Kiwis have hidden wings and their body appears to be completely covered with hair, which happens to be 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

There are four species of this bird, out of which three are categorised 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. Weka are a food source for some tribes 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.


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