15 Interesting Flightless Birds That Have Zero Chance Of Flapping Wings

lightless birds
image: Max Pixel

Having wings but cannot fly, some flightless birds are just hopeless creatures in seeing the world from the sky. What first comes into your mind when you see the word flightless birds? Definitely some well-known large ones like ostriches or emus, but there are more than that actually. So we are here to learn about these interesting flightless birds that have null chance in flapping wings to raise their feet from the ground. We bring 15 of them for you to see today, let’s see if you are familiar with all of them.

1Campbell Island Teal

Campbell Island Teal is a small, flightless, and nocturnal birds that resembles the other species of teals. This type of bird was driven to extinction on Campbell island by the introduction of Norway Rats. Those rats ate their eggs and chicks, and that was so close to the extinction of the teal that time. But then, they were rediscovered on Dent Island where it was rat-free. However, these flightless birds are still in the list of threatened and endangered animals.


image: Pinterest

Cassowary goes by many reputations namely flightless birds, one of the most dangerous animals in Australia, and more. The unique thing about Cassowaries is that they prefer forests over plants compare to ostriches and emus. And it is the bird that is known to be larger and heavier than the ostriches as well. They feed mostly by fruit, vegetation, and occasional insects.

They might be dangerous to humans, but they only attack when they are threatened or attacked. When attack, Cassowaries can tear holes in your body like Swiss cheese; and there have been around 200 reports per year so far. Most of the cases resulted from feeding the animals, so don’t feed the animals when you see the sign that says don’t feed the animals.


Already extinct, the dodo birds are flightless birds that once roamed the earth back in the days. Dodo birds could grow up to 1 meter tall with weight of 10.6 to 17.5 kilogram. The dodo birds are known to be fat and clumsy, and they are also very adorable as well. The birds were born with brownish-gray plumage along with yellow feet, and the combination of other colors.

Just like most flightless birds, the dodo used gizzard stones to digest its food, mainly fruits. Some say that the dodo birds became flightless because of the availability of abundant food sources and less predators on land. It has been a few centuries since the dodo birds have gone extinct, and they are still one interesting birds to know.


image: paweesit

Emus are the flightless birds with cool eggs since their eggs are black in color. Emu is the largest bird to call Australia its native home, and they have plenty of space to live and enjoy their lives. The fascinating thing about emu is that they swallow rocks to help digest their grub. Another thing is that they sit down at night for short naps only to rise and look around a short time later.

Such calm and peaceful animals also have their enemy, emus are normally attacked by dingo or any other assailants on the ground. Luckily, emus are good at defending themselves by kicking their assailants in the face or rip their cuts out. Cuddly, but not the type to run around with; so don’t go too close with them without precaution.

5Flightless Cormorant

By the name you can already tell that this bird is not able to fly. You can notice flightless cormorant by the size of their short and stubby wings that keep on the ground instead of in the sky. With those wings, they can never fly even if they tried to.These birds are born with feet that are webbed which make them better divers rather that flyers.

6Greater Rhea

image: Pixabay

The interesting thing about this bird is its gigantic wings that spread widely when scared or in defensing. On top of that, the wings features an eccentric zig zag pattern while alternatively lifting. Don’t let the size trick you, this bird cannot fly at all despite its large wings. The look of greater rhea resembles emu, and neither of them can fly so.

Great Rhea has this weird breeding ritual that makes them different from most birds. The male rhea will seduce many females then build a large nest in which his harem deposits their eggs. Then the male does all the incubation of the egg himself. That is one of the reasons why great rhea don’t go extinct easily.


Grebes come in a long line of species, most of which are flightless while the others find it hard to fly. This type of bird is endangered at the moment, and their specialties is swimming and diving. At the same time, walking is not what they are best at since their feet are positioned far back on their body. However, some can run across long distance with the help of balance from their small wings.

The weird thing about grebes is that they tend to eat their own feathers when they grom themselves. Being the bird that cannot fly, grebes possess better skill in the water which makes them survive.

8Inaccessible Island Rail

The Inaccessible Island Rails are the smallest extant flightless birds in the world. The bird has brown plumage and a black bill and feet, and they on a variety of small invertebrates as well as some plants matter. These birds are territorial and monogamous, and both parents are responsible for incubating eggs and raising the chicks. Overall, these flightless birds are one interesting species, and their population densities are also high as well.


Kakapo aka Owl Parrot is native to New Zealand just like a few other flightless birds in our list today. This nocturnal parrots has an owl’s face, penguin’s stance, and duck’s gait. Kakapo is weirdly beautiful with its bright green-brown feathers along with its chubby body that brings it the title of heaviest parrot on earth.

Another interesting thing is that male Kakapos can make a distinctive booming call that sounds like a one-jug bird. The sound can be heard up to half a mile away, Kakapo is special that is why the country is protecting this amazing bird.


Here we have the national symbol of New Zealand, the adorable small Kiwi bird. There are 5 species of kiwi, and most of them are threatened since the introduction of mammalian predators. Kiwis are small, but the adults are strong enough to protect themselves with their strong legs. Only the young ones are too tiny and weak to protect themselves from the predators. One interesting thing of these flightless birds is that they lay large eggs despite the size of their bodies.


Being the king of birds, the largest living birds, and the fastest flightless birds, Ostriches can grow up to 9 feet tall and weigh more than 300 pounds. They also lay the largest eggs with size up to 5 inches that provide enough omelette for 5 people as well. Normally, ostriches love to roam together in small groups, and the male usually look over 5 to 7 females in the group.

One thing we all know is to never ever ever ever mess with an ostrich or its youngster. That is because they will use their humongous legs to kick the crap out of the aggressor who dares to harm their youngs. Let’s just stay away from animals that are bigger and appear to be less friendly to us, we might live longer that way.


A list of flightless birds is incomplete without the presence of the fluffy and adorable penguins. There are 18 species of penguin in the world, and none of that are able to fly. Those flappy flaps make them a better swimmer and diver, but a hopeless in being a flyer. Penguins have short legs and stocky build body that gives them a waddling walk.

The interesting thing about them is that they are largely monogamous, and they seek out the same mate every season. They are cute and cuddly, and they are loved by many around the world.

13Steamer Duck

There are many species of steamer duck, and a huge majority of them are unable to fly. Only a few are able to fly, but some males are too heavy they still cannot lift up with their wings. Steamer ducks might not be able to fly, but they don’t let other creatures attack them easily either. They are very aggressive, and they have known to engage in epic and bloody battles with each other over territory disputes.

Not to mention they have been known to kill waterbirds several times their size. So don’t bully those birds that cannot fly, you never know what they can do to you.


This is one long-living bird that can roam the land with their flightless life up to 20 years. Takahe is a mid-size bird of New Zealand that was thought to be extinct from the late 1800s which fortunately were discovered in 1948. Takahes are colorful birds with the mixture of bright blue and green plumage along with red bill. They cannot fly, and they are very good and hiding which makes them survive despite their weakness in flapping wings.


Wekas are also flightless birds from New Zealand, and they are now decreasing in number. They might be small and not so defensive, but these flightless birds have a loud call that known as duet songs of males and females. More than that, they are also known as clever thieves that will steal food or small objects and run away as well. Since these birds don’t fly, they have another skill that make them survive, and that is swimming.

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With enormous passion for writing, research has been done every day to provide new topics and interesting things for her readers every day. This little writing maniac is always happy to see the number of audience increasing, and thanks to you awesome people from different parts of the world who visit this blog. P.S: I am also a freelance writer, you know how to contact me!


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