Although when thinking about birds the first image that comes to mind is that of animals with large wings that allow them to fly, the reality is that there are many birds that cannot. They are birds like the others, since they share all their characteristics with them. However, due to the way they have evolved, despite having wings, we are unable to take off from the ground. There are different types of these birds. If you want to meet 10 birds that do not fly , keep reading AgroCorrn and discover them.
Flightless birds: characteristics
Flightless birds are birds just like the others but with some key differences, so it is true that they have a series of their own characteristics that differentiate them from the rest. An example of this differentiation is found in the bones of their wings , which are considerably smaller than in the case of flying birds. Likewise, it is also worth noting the reduction or absence of the keel , a chest bone that allows them to develop stronger and larger muscles that allow the use of the wings in flight.
On the other hand, it is also worth mentioning that most flightless birds have survived in quite isolated environments (although not all, as is the case with ostriches or emus). In many cases, flightless birds have evolved from flying birds but, in the absence of predators, they have specialized in movement by land and water , which requires less energy, which has led to the atrophy of the birds. wings until they become flightless birds.
Ostriches (Struthio camelus)
Ostriches , whose scientific name is Struthio camelus , is a flightless bird, as well as being the largest bird that exists today. In fact, although most do not usually exceed two meters in height, there have been cases of specimens that have reached almost three meters in height, a not inconsiderable size. This bird that does not fly usually weighs about 180 kg and, although today it is only found in Africa, it is thought that long ago it could also be found in the Arabian Peninsula. There are four species of ostriches, which are distributed throughout different regions of Africa.
One of the curiosities of this bird is that, in addition to lacking teeth, it also has little mobility on the tongue. This means that he eats food in practically the same state as it is in the middle. Although it is considered a herbivorous animal, it is known that they can also feed on carrion if they have the opportunity.
Another of the birds that cannot fly are penguins. The scientific name for these animals is Spheniscidae , and there are different species of penguins, although all of them are found in the southern hemisphere. In fact, the place where there are more of these types of birds is on the continent of Antarctica , since they are a type of bird especially adapted to cold temperatures. However, penguins can also be found in South America, in the Patagonia region, as well as in South Australia and New Zealand.
One of the reasons that makes this type of bird unable to fly is the layer of fat that covers its body under the skin, which allows them to withstand the freezing temperatures of their natural habitat. However, it also increases their weight considerably, preventing them from taking flight. This is compensated by the fact that they are excellent swimmers , which allows them to hunt fish in the icy waters of the Antarctic Sea, their main food.
Dodo (Raphus cucullatus)
In this case, it is a flightless bird that is extinct. The dodo , whose scientific name is Raphus cucullatus , was a flightless bird native to the Mauritius Islands, located in the Indian Ocean and separated from Madagascar by less than 1,000 kilometers away. However, it is a bird that became extinct in the 17th century .
The cause of its extinction is found in the hand of man. When European explorers arrived in Mauritius, they introduced new species, such as pigs, dogs or cats, among many others. This led to their nests being attacked by these new species that the dodos had never had to face. Likewise, the fact that the dodos had not had contact with human beings meant that they were not perceived as a threat, which also led to their extinction.
In this other AgroCorrn article we talk about why the dodo bird became extinct .
Another of the flightless birds is the emu, whose scientific name is Dromaius . In this case, it is the second largest flightless bird, second only to ostriches. This flightless bird is native to Oceania . They are omnivorous birds, since they eat both seeds and vegetables and small animals, especially insects.
Currently only the common emu survives , as the rest of the emu species are extinct. One of the curiosities that this bird has is that, unlike most other birds, it has dark green eggs. This, beyond your curiosity due to the differentiation from the rest of the eggs, also has an important function. Thanks to this particular color, emu eggs are more difficult to see, which helps prevent them from being easy prey for potential predators.
Hens (Gallus gallus domesticus)
Another of the birds that does not fly are chickens , whose scientific name is Gallus gallus domesticus . This bird is known for being the main domestic bird , which also makes it the most numerous flightless bird that exists, since it is raised for both its eggs and its meat. In fact, it is estimated that there are more than 16,000 million chickens in the world.
There are different types of chickens . In all cases it is an animal that presents a marked sexual dimorphism. That is, females and males are physically different. In the case of chickens , they are animals of a smaller size, with a more sober plumage and lack the typical prominent crest of roosters (the male of chickens), which have a crest that can even double the size of the crest of the hens.
Other birds that do not fly
To finish, we expand the list of birds that do not fly with these other species, of which you may know some very emblematic such as the kiwi, but others less known may surprise you, such as the kakapo.
- Cassowary: there are three different species and they are located in some regions of Australia and New Guinea. They feed both on fruits and fungi found in the ground and on some smaller animals, such as insects and some small reptiles.
- Kiwi: they are made up of five species and all of them are native to New Zealand. It is a small bird, somewhat smaller than a common hen. It is characterized by its rounded body and brown plumage, as well as an elongated, pointed bill. On the cover of this article you can see this bird that does not fly.
- Common rhea: it is a flightless bird similar to ostriches but smaller in size. It is located in South America, specifically in the northern areas of Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil.
- Kagú: it is a flightless bird that is threatened with extinction. It is native to the islands of New Caledonia, located in Melanesia, east of Australia. Its main threat is that it lays a single egg in the nest, located on the ground, where it is vulnerable to attack by rats and cats introduced into its ecosystem by humans.
- Kakapo: it is also a flightless bird that is threatened. It is the only flightless parrot that exists, in addition to being the parrot with the highest body weight in relation to its size for the same reason. It is an endemic species to New Zealand. You can see this bird in the image below.