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Flightless Birds and Their Types

Flightless Birds Quiz
Flightless Birds Quiz

Most of the birds that live near you probably fly, but not all birds do. Some birds, such as ostriches, emus and rheas, are too big to fly. Birds living in New Zealand have lived for millions of years on isolated islands, protected from hunters and predators. They stopped flying because they no longer needed to fly to escape danger. Penguins probably stopped flying because they spent so much time in the water.

Some Samples of Flightless Birds Image - Science for Kids All About Flightless Birds
All about flightless birds – some of them, such as ostriches, emus and rheas, are too big to fly.

Unfortunately, for some of these birds, the inability to fly has caused them trouble. Kakapos, kiwis and takahes are all endangered. Settlers brought rats, cats and stouts to New Zealand. These new animals hunt the birds, but the birds can’t protect themselves.

Rheas Walking Around Image
Rheas are flightless birds. Rhea dads build nests and take care of their babies.

Fun Facts about Flightless Birds for Kids

  • Rhea dads build nests and take care of their babies. The females move on to lay new eggs in new nests.
  • The kakapo is the world’s largest parrot.
  • Some birds, such as the kakapo and the kiwi, have a strong, musty odor.
  • Ostriches can run up to 43 miles per hour. Their kick is strong enough to kill a lion.
  • Kiwis are the national bird of New Zealand.
A Kakapo on a Man's Lap Image
Kakapo is flightless bird and is world’s largest parrot.

Flightless Bird Vocabulary

  1. Isolated: remote, far away, alone
  2. Predator: an animal that hunts other animals
  3. Escape: get away from
  4. Settlers: people that come to live in a new land
  5. Musty: stale, moldy

Learn More All About Flightless Birds

Check out this awesome video and learn why penguins are flightless:

A video about why penguins can’t fly.

Kiwi Looking for Food Image
Kiwis are flightless birds and are the National bird of New Zealand.

Flightless Bird Q&A

Question: Can flightless birds be kept as pets?

Answer: All flightless birds are wild, and some can be downright dangerous and aggressive. Some people raise ostriches, rheas and emus for their eggs and meat, but not as pets.


Question: How big are the eggs of flightless birds?

Answer: Many of these birds have very large eggs. Ostrich eggs weigh up to five pounds.


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