Sunday , May 12 2024
What Birds Can't Fly

What Birds Can’t Fly? Facts About Birds

Humans have been fascinated by birds for a long time. They soar through the sky, their feathers ruffling in the wind, and we can’t help but look up and wonder: how do they do that and what birds can’t fly?

Well, it turns out that not all birds can fly. This article will give you a list of a few birds you might be surprised to know can’t actually get off the ground.

Why Can’t Certain Birds Fly?

Have you ever wondered what birds can’t fly? Chances are, if you’re an avid bird-watcher, you’ve come across a flightless bird or two, and might have asked yourself this question. You may have even wondered why that particular bird—for instance, an ostrich—can’t fly. The answer lies in the evolution of the species as well as other factors.

Flightlessness in birds is considered an evolutionarily disadvantageous trait. This means that being able to fly is so beneficial that evolution has tended to favor it; in other words, birds that can fly will survive better than those who can’t. However, under certain circumstances, evolution will favor those who cannot fly over those who can.

The most common reason for flightlessness involves island life. On islands where large predators do not exist and there is rarely any need to escape danger by flying away, it’s likely that evolution will no longer favor flight. This is because flying requires more energy and effort than walking or running on the ground, and takes up valuable resources like calories, which are scarce on islands. In this way, ostriches are an exception to this rule: they cannot fly because they evolved alongside dangerous predators in Africa like lions and tigers.

What Birds Can’t Fly?


Penguins are flightless birds. While they might appear to be similar to birds who can fly, such as other members of the bird group Sphenisciformes (a group that includes auklets, puffins and albatrosses) and Procellariiformes (a group that includes petrels, shearwaters and fulmars), penguins differ in several respects from those that fly.

Penguin wings, while they may allow them to ‘fly’ through the water, are too small and their bones too solid to allow them to achieve flight through the air.

Steamer Ducks

Steamer Ducks are large, goose-like sea birds that are native to the southern tip of South America. You might mistake them for geese or swans at first glance—they have long necks and bills, and their coloring is black and white—but they’re actually part of the duck family. They even have webbed feet like ducks do.

Which makes sense, really, because Steamer Ducks can’t fly. In fact, they rarely leave the water at all. They live in coastal areas where they feed on mollusks and seaweed by diving underwater to hunt for their food.

If you’ve ever seen a Steamer Duck in person before (or on television), you might have noticed that they’re extremely aggressive when defending their territory from predators like hawks or humans. Even though they can’t fly, these ducks will run across the water with their wings outstretched to intimidate other animals into leaving them alone!


Kiwis are flightless birds that are native to New Zealand. They are endangered and protected by the New Zealand government. These birds have weak pectoral muscles, which makes flying impossible for them. They make up for this with their natural ability to run very quickly, which helps them escape predators. The name “Kiwi” is a reference to the kiwifruit, which is also native to New Zealand. Kiwi birds are endangered due to threats posed by cats, dogs, and human activity.


The takahe is a bird species from New Zealand. It’s a large, flightless bird that was once thought to be extinct, but was rediscovered in 1948. They mainly eat grass and other plant matter, so they’re also called ‘grass-dwelling parrots.’ They are mostly black, but have a distinctive blue-green color on the top of their head and neck.


Although ostriches are the largest birds on earth, they cannot fly. The reason for this is that their wings are too small and weak to allow them to fly. The ostrich’s wingspan is about 7 feet long, but only about 2 feet of that is wing tissue. That means their wings are about 50% smaller than those of a common pigeon.

The most likely explanation for the ostrich’s inability to fly is that it was never necessary for its survival in its native habitat. Ostriches live in African plains and desert that have plenty of space for running and hiding from predators like lions, cheetahs, and hyenas. There is plenty of food in the form of grasses, seeds, and berries. So it never had any need to develop a different mode of transportation or escape plan.

Because ostriches are flightless, they have developed several other methods of defense against predators besides running and hiding. They have sharp claws on their front feet that they use to kick at potential attackers, and they can run as fast as 40 miles per hour. Despite being flightless, ostriches have excellent eyesight and can detect predators from miles away by watching for dust clouds kicked up by the lion’s paws.


Kakapo, also known as the owl parrot, are flightless birds native to New Zealand. They are among the heaviest of the world’s parrots and have a wingspan of about 5 inches and a length of up to 24 inches. These birds are nocturnal, herbivorous, and solitary. They live in caves or on the forest floor.

Can Flightless Birds Run Fast?

Yes. The answer to the question can flightless birds run fast? is yes, but also no. Yes because some flightless birds can run very fast—ostriches and emus, for example, are both flightless birds that can run up to 40 mph (64 kmph). No because there are many other flightless birds that don’t have the same kind of running speed, like penguins and kiwis; which are not speedy runners at all.

Do Flightless Birds Migrate?

It is obvious that flightless birds do not migrate. Most glaringly, the lack of wings is a huge indicator that birds do not migrate. This can be verified by the fact that many species which are known to migrate have wings. For example, a bird called the Arctic Tern has both a very well known migration pattern and wings. If a bird does not have wings and is not migratory, it cannot be proven that it migrates.

Another indicator for flightless birds not migrating is the fact that many of them live in areas where migration would be impossible. For example, if we were to observe an African Penguin, we would see that it lives in an environment with little to no ice or snow. Therefore, they could never migrate to the North Pole or South Pole if they wanted to due to lacking the ability to fly there. These facts conclusively show that flightless birds do not migrate.


There are many different opinions on this question. Many believe that a bird’s ability to fly is related to its skeletal structure, but others think it is related to the membrane of its wings. Others still believe that a bird’s ability to fly should be judged by its ability to glide, rather than fly horizontally. Some birds have semi-lunate forearms and therefore can glide effective when falling from a high position or rising from a low position. In one sense, you cannot really say what birds can’t fly and what birds can fly, because it is all based on how they are defined.

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