Which birds can’t fly?

Key Takeaways

Fact Description
Flightless Birds Some bird species have evolved to be flightless.
Examples Penguins, Ostriches, Emus, Kiwis, and Cassowaries are some examples of birds that can’t fly.
Significance This behavior underscores the diversity and adaptability of bird species.


While flight is a defining characteristic of birds, not all birds can fly. Some bird species have evolved to be flightless, adapting to their environments in remarkable ways. This article explores which birds can’t fly and the reasons behind their flightlessness.

The Phenomenon of Flightless Birds

Flightless birds have evolved over time to adapt to their specific habitats and survival needs. These adaptations often involve trade-offs, with the loss of flight typically accompanied by other beneficial traits, such as enhanced swimming or running abilities.

Why Can’t Some Birds Fly?

Birds may lose the ability to fly due to several reasons:

  1. Absence of Predators: In isolated environments with few predators, birds may lose their ability to fly.
  2. Diet and Habitat: Birds that rely on water or land-based food sources may evolve to be flightless.
  3. Body Size: Larger birds may lose their ability to fly due to their size and weight.

Birds That Can’t Fly

Here are some examples of birds that can’t fly:

Bird Species Description
Penguin Penguins are excellent swimmers and divers but cannot fly.
Ostrich The ostrich is the largest bird and is known for its speed on land, but it cannot fly.
Emu Emus are large birds native to Australia. They can run fast but cannot fly.
Kiwi Kiwis are small, nocturnal birds native to New Zealand. They are known for their long beaks and fluffy feathers but cannot fly.
Cassowary Cassowaries are large, flightless birds native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and northeastern Australia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question Answer
Which birds can’t fly? Some examples include the Penguin, Ostrich, Emu, Kiwi, and Cassowary.
Why can’t some birds fly? Birds may lose the ability to fly due to the absence of predators, their diet and habitat, or their body size.


The world of flightless birds is a testament to the diversity and adaptability of these fascinating creatures. As we continue to learn more about their unique characteristics and behaviors, we gain a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the avian world.

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