More than just a great form of transport, being able to fly is essential to help birds escape from predators. Despite this, there are some species of birds that have evolved without this ability. They survive because they have few natural predators or because they have developed alternate ways to escape and defend themselves.
This huge bird, which can grow to a height of over 6 feet, makes its home in the forests of Australia and New Guinea. It mostly lives on a diet of fruit but also enjoys small animals such as frogs and snakes.
This is another Australian bird, but one which roams the plains and grasslands. It is almost as big as the cassowary and can run at 30 mph. If it has to stand and fight then it kicks with its three-toed feet.
This is the only cormorant that cannot fly and it can be found on two of the Galapagos Islands, Fernandina and Isabela. It nests near the shore and is a good swimmer and diver.
A native of New Zealand, this bird gets its name from the Maori language. It means ‘night parrot’. Typically weighing over 8 pounds, it is the heaviest parrot in the world. If not caught by cats, dogs, or stoats it can live for up to 60 years.
Related to the extinct moa, also flightless, this nocturnal bird lives in New Zealand and is one of the country’s national emblems. Only the size of a chicken, it has tiny wings, no tail, and a long beak which it uses to forage for bugs.
Living on the African plains, this is the largest living bird and the fastest runner. It grows to 9 feet tall and can run at over 40 mph allowing it to escape from danger. There is no truth to the popular myth that it hides its head in the sand.
All species of penguin live in the southern hemisphere and are well adapted to a life of swimming and diving in the cold water. Their wings have transformed to flippers and their bodies are insulated by layers of blubber, down, and close-set feathers.
While most species of rail can fly there is one that cannot, the Inaccessible Island Rail. With an average weigh of only one ounce it is the smallest of all the flightless birds. It enjoys a diet of worms a9nd berries.
This South American bird typically lives in flocks of up to 30 and has a mostly vegetarian diet although it will supplement this with small animals. It may not be able to fly but when threatened it can run faster than a horse.
Once found in Australia, this bird now lives only in Tasmania and is common on a large part of the island. It lives in small groups, typically between two and five, and in common with other sedentary species is territorial.