Top 10 Flightless Birds in the World

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There are a variety of flightless birds located in all parts of the world. New Zealand is one place that is well known for its wide diversity of flightless birds. The ostrich and the emu are prime examples of flightless birds and because they cannot fly they use their large claws and sprinting abilities to get away from predators. This list will describe the top 10 flightless birds in the world and it is intended to give helpful information about the subject.


10. South American Grebes

South American Grebes

There are two species of this bird that are completely flightless. They are the Junin grebe and the Titicaca grebe. These two species are listed as endangered. They have small wings, but never fly and they can run very long distances. These birds are known to eat their own feathers for unknown reasons. Sometimes the adult birds get tangled in fishing nets. Predators attack the eggs and chicks and this is what has lead them to becoming endangered. The adults are fine swimmers and can evade predators in the water.


9. Flightless Cormorant

Flightless Cormorant

This bird is native to the Galapagos Islands and it is the only flightless cormorant in the world. They have short and stubby wings so they cannot fly even if they tried. They have webbed feet and they are excellent divers. They get their food by feeding off the ocean floor. The only predator that threatens this bird on the Galapagos Islands is the human.


8. Greater Rhea

Greater Rhea

This bird has very large wings, but it never flies. The Rhea can run really fast. You can also see them sprinting at very fast speeds. These unique birds are well known for their breeding ritual. The male will seduce many females by building large nests. It is the male that incubates the eggs.


7. Emu


The Emu is a very large flightless bird that is native to Australia. These birds are known to swallow rocks to help them with digestion. Studies show this bird has a variety of curious behaviors. They only take very short naps during the night hours. They kick their predators in the face to escape them and the eagle is their main predator.


6. Southern Cassowary

Southern Cassowary

This bird has a unique look and it is also considered one of the flightless birds in the world. This is a colorful bird with a blue and black neck. It has a red, draping gobbler. They always try to  avoid humans, but they have been known to attack humans when they feel threatened. These are dangerous birds that can tear holes in a body. Every year there are about two-hundred attacks that occur mostly from humans trying to feed them.


5. Inaccessible Island Rail

Inaccessible Island Rail

There are about twenty species of the rail that are flightless. They have inherited this trait from living on islands that have no predators. These birds are listed as one of the smallest flightless birds in the world today. These little birds are solid black.


4. Ostrich


The ostrich has a very hefty frame and it is the fastest running of all flightless birds. They are native to Africa and they roam together in small groups. They are known to outrun humans by a few miles. African natives use the large ostrich eggs for storing water. They use their strong and long legs to kick their predators.


3. Emperor Penguins

Emperor Penguins

It is definitely not a surprise that penguins are on the list of flightless birds in the world. The penguins are great swimmers in the ocean. They also migrate for hundreds of miles on land. Penguins are cute with their unique shaped bodies. They love the ocean and feed on fish.


2. Kakapo


The kakapo is a parrot and it is native to New Zealand. It is the only flightless parrot in the world. This tiny bird ranks at number two for being on the list of flightless birds in the world. Today, there are only less than 150 of these precious little parrots. They can only be found in the predator-free islands of New Zealand. They have light green feathers with black and white specks. Conservation efforts in New Zealand are taking place right now in order to protect the little parrot and encourage breeding. Special food sources are being provided for these birds.


1. Kiwi


This tiny bird stands as the national symbol of New Zealand. There are five species of the Kiwi and they are all native to New Zealand. The adult kiwis have very powerful and strong legs. Anything that threatens them they are able to combat easily. These small birds lay really large eggs. Their young chicks cannot defend themselves against predators and conservation efforts are underway. The chicks are taken into captivity and not released until they become adults and able to defend themselves in the wild. Also conservation efforts involve breeding them in captivity. These measures taken enable increasing populations.


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