10 Surprising Birds That Cannot Fly

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birds that cannot fly

When asked what animal can fly, it will definitely answer birds in a compact manner. Birds are known as one of the animals that can fly in space. However, not all types of birds have the ability to fly. There are many who apparently cannot fly and spend their time if they are not on land, in the water. There are 10 types of birds that are known to have no flight ability and we will explain them below.

1. Takahe

Takahe has another name South Island Takahe or notornis. Included in medium sized birds that can be found in New Zealand. Definition can be found does not mean you can easily find takahe. Takahe were very few in number and very good at hiding.

In fact, the takahe was said to be extinct in the late 1800s. But surprisingly, the takahe made its appearance in 1948. The takahe has a blue-green-red color. Compared to other birds, the takahe is a bird that has a long life. Takahe are known to live up to 20 years.

2. Kakapo

This bird is one of the endemic birds in New Zealand. Kakapo or owl parrot has a characteristic yellow-green body, a large gray beak, short but large legs, wings, and a short tail. No wonder why the kakapo can be called an owl parrot because of its color and shape that is similar to parrots and owls.

Included in the parrot family, only the kakapo cannot fly. The disadvantage of a kakapo, which cannot fly, is covered by its ability to stay on land. Kakapo have very strong legs. These strong legs are used by the kakapo to climb tall trees. The wings function more as a parachute when they jump from the top of the tree. The kakapo has a distinctive sound which can be heard from half a mile away.


3. Inaccessible Island Rail

With a body size that ranges from 13 to 15 cm, making the Inaccessible Island Rail one of the smallest flightless birds. It was named so because this bird is endemic to the Inaccessible Island, which is located in the Tristan archipelago in the isolated South Atlantic region. Has another name Atlantisia rogersi.

The person who first discovered this bird species was Henry Martyn Rogers. There are no natural predators from this bird. Even so, their number is known to be only around 8400 individuals. The small and isolated island where they live is the reason for their low numbers.

4. Weka

New Zealand is home to a number of unique and rare birds. One of these birds is named weka. Especially the weka, this bird is a native bird from New Zealand. Small in shape, about the size of a chicken. There is no food limit for weka birds because they are omnivores or eat everything.

A total of 4 subspecies of the weka bird were identified and all of them have one thing in common, namely flightlessness. The weka spends its time on land as well as in water. Do not underestimate the abilities of weka birds, even though they cannot fly, their swimming abilities cannot be underestimated. They are good at hunting fish in the water.

5. Cassowary

Birds that also have a large body size besides the ostrich, the cassowary is a very beautiful and rare bird. Some of the possible places to see this bird are Papua New Guinea, East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, and Northeast Australia. Cassowaries can grow up to 1.7 meters and weigh 47 kg.


Cassowaries are dangerous animals. They are aggressive and territorial. Cassowaries are rewarded with hard head bones and long claws like knives with a length of 4 inches. It is possible for cassowaries to kill humans if they are threatened. The cassowary is considered one of the ancient animals that managed to survive the mass extinction millions of years ago.

6. Kiwi

If you want to find unique animals, you can try to go to New Zealand. You can see that there are many unique animals that can only be found there. Like the following animals, it is called a kiwi bird. Kiwi birds are endemic to New Zealand, having the size of domestic chickens and even smaller.

Kiwi birds have hidden wings. Their wings are too small and soft when compared to their bodies. The wings are too small to prevent the kiwi bird from flying. If you look at it, kiwi birds are like small birds that seem suitable to be kept as pets. Kiwi bodies may be small, but they are very aggressive and territorial. It is not recommended to keep kiwi. Moreover, they are protected animals because their numbers are already small.

7. Penguin

Who doesn’t know penguins? This cute little bird is a bird that usually lives in cold areas. They can survive in cold areas because their bodies are protected by very thick fur. Penguins are also known as birds that have reliable swimming abilities. This swimming ability is what they use to hunt for food in the water.

Even though they are considered birds, penguins cannot fly like other birds. One of the things that can be seen why they can’t fly is the shape of their wings. While birds generally have wings that spread wide, penguins have wings that look like oars. These paddle-like wings make them good at swimming as well as diving.


Read Also: Owl as an Exotic Pet: How to Take Care of Owl

8. Ostrich

It is impossible to discuss a flightless bird without mentioning an ostrich. The ostrich is considered the largest living bird. They can be up to 2.5 meters tall. Their size is large enough to allow ostriches to be ridden by humans. In Africa and Arabia, ostriches are often used as mounts for competitions.

Due to their large size, the eggs produced by ostriches are also large, the largest of any bird. Can measure 5 inches and weigh 3 pounds. Including wild animals, we should be careful near ostriches. The ostrich has a very powerful kick. If they feel threatened, the ostrich will turn around and kick whatever it deems dangerous.

9. Steamer duck

Steamer duck is a duck genus that is still included in the Anatidade family. There are 4 species of duck steamer that have been identified. Of the four species, only one species can fly, the rest only live on land. The ones that can fly are the flying steamer duck species. And those that don’t fly include the fuegian steamer duck, the chubut steamer duck, and the falkland steamer duck.

One thing that duck steamer has in common is their aggressive nature. Steamer duck is known as a very aggressive duck. Not infrequently they get into violent fights with fellow duck steamer. If other ducks enter their territory, the steamer duck will repel them. Steamer duck also does not hesitate to attack other birds that are the same size as them.

10. Flightless Cormorant

Flightless cormorant has another name galapagos cormorant. According to the island where they were found. It is quite rare to find animals in the Galapagos including this one bird. Even the flightless cormorant is the only cormorant found in the Galapagos and of course it does not have the ability to fly.


Flightless cormorants still have wings like birds. However, their wings are only a third of their body size. Makes them so disproportionate to be able to lift their massive bodies. The muscles that support flightless birds are also very few in the possession of the flightless cormorant. Including animals that are threatened with extinction because their current population is only around 1500 individuals.