While 99% of all bird species can indeed fly there is a small percentage that can’t. Thee flightless birds are often seen as oddities in the bird world, but some of them are larger than you might think. Looking at all flightless birds from around the world I bring you the ten largest…
The Top 10 Largest Flightless Birds From Around the World
10 – Kiwi – Average Weight: 3.5 kg (7 lb, 12 oz – Average Height: 55.9 cm (22 in)
DNA sequence comparisons have yielded the surprising conclusion that the kiwi bird is much more closely related to the extinct Malagasy elephant birds than to the moa with which they shared New Zealand. There are five recognised species, two of which are currently endangered, another two of which are vulnerable, and one of which is near-threatened.
9 – Kagu – Average Weight: 5.1 kg (11 lb, 0 oz – Average Height: 59.9 cm (23 in)
The kagu’s affinities are not well resolved. It was long one of the most enigmatic birds and in more recent times is usually affiliated with the Gruiformes. It was initially classed as a member of the clade Ardeidae because of the presence of powder down, similarities in plumage colour and internal anatomy, the colour of the chicks and eggs, and the change in colouration of the chick as it grows.
8 – Kakapo – Average Weight: 2.5 kg (5 lb, 8 oz – Average Height: 66.0 cm (26 in)
The kakapo is critically endangered; as of April 2018, the total known adult population was 149 living individuals, as reported by the Kakapo Recovery programme, most of which have been given names. Because of Polynesian and European colonisation and the introduction of predators such as cats, rats, ferrets, and stoats, the kakapo was almost wiped out.
7 – Fuegian steamer duck – Average Weight: 5.5 kg (12 lb, 2 oz – Average Height: 84.0 cm (33 in)
The wingspan is 85–110 cm (33–43 in), the wings being too small to functionally allow the birds to take flight. Instead, the wings are used like paddles to help skim rapidly across the surface of the water. This species outweighs any other wild species called “duck” and is about the same mass as the largest wild geese in the world, although this species is only distantly related to most true ducks.
6 – Flightless Cormorant – Average Weight: 4.5 kg (9 lb, 15 oz – Average Height: 95.0 cm (37 in)
The flightless cormorant also is known as the Galapagos cormorant, is a cormorant native to the Galapagos Islands, and an example of the highly unusual fauna there. It is unique in that it is the only cormorant that has lost the ability to fly. Once it was placed in its own genus, Nannopterum or Compsohalieus, although current taxonomy places it in the genus with most of the other cormorants, Phalacrocorax.
5 – Emperor Penguin – Average Weight: 29.4 kg (64 lb, 13 oz – Average Height: 114.0 cm (45 in)
The emperor penguin is the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species and is endemic to Antarctica. The dorsal side and head are black and sharply delineated from the white belly, pale-yellow breast and bright-yellow ear patches. Like all penguins, it is flightless, with a streamlined body, and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine habitat.
4 – Rhea – Average Weight: 33.5 kg (55 lb, 2 oz – Average Height: 137.1 cm (54 in)
The genus name was given in 1752 by Paul Möhring and adopted as the English common name. Möhring named the rhea based on the Greek Titan Rhea, whose name is derived from the Greek Rhea (῾Ρέα) meaning “ground”.
3 – Cassowary – Average Weight: 33.5 kg (73 lb, 14 oz – Average Height: 152.4 cm (60 in)
Cassowaries feed mainly on fruit, although all species are truly omnivorous and will take a range of other plant food, including shoots and grass seeds, in addition to fungi, invertebrates, and small vertebrates. Cassowaries are very shy, but when provoked they are capable of inflicting injuries, occasionally fatal, to dogs and people.
2 – Emu – Average Weight: 40 kg (88 lb, 3 oz – Average Height: 152.4 cm (60 in)
The emu’s range covers most of mainland Australia, but the Tasmanian emu and King Island emu subspecies became extinct after the European settlement of Australia in 1788. The bird is sufficiently common for it to be rated as the least concern species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
1 – Ostrich – Average Weight: 156.5 kg (345 lb, 0 oz – Average Height: 274.3 cm (108 in)
The common ostrich’s diet consists mainly of plant matter, though it also eats invertebrates. It lives in nomadic groups of 5 to 50 birds. When threatened, the ostrich will either hide itself by lying flat against the ground or run away. If cornered, it can attack with a kick of its powerful legs. Mating patterns differ by geographical region, but territorial males fight for a harem of two to seven females.