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RATITE

Order Struthioniformes   Family Struthionidae - 1 genus

The Struthioniformes, also called Ratities, are a diverse group of flightless birds. They include the Cassowar and Emu of Australia, the Kiwi of New Zealand, the Ostrich of Africa, and the Rhea of South America. Unlike other flightless birds, the ratites have no keel on their sternum. Without this to anchor their wing muscles, they could not fly even if they were to develop suitable wings. Their legs are strong and don't have air chanbers, except for femurs.  They have no crop. Most ratites share a communal nest.

Some taxonomical systems consider the various families of ratites to be orders.

Their closest living relatives are the tinamous of South America.


Family Apterygidae


This family has only 1 genus, the kiwis. They are endemic to New Zealand, about the size of a chicken, are nocturnal, and have the largest egg relative to body size.

Genus Aperyx

Kiwi, Great Spotted  Apteryx haastii  Found: Forests of South Isand, New Zealand
The Great Spotted Kiwi has brown plumage with light barring. It is the largest of the kiwis.
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Blue Poppy


Kiwi, Little Spotted  Apteryx owenii  Found: Kapti Island, New Zealand
The Little Spotted Kiwi has brown plumage with faint barring that can appear spotted. It is the smallest of the kiwis.
Image by: 1) Jim the Photographer - Darwin Museum, WIlmington Delaware, USA  2) Judi Miller


Kiwi, North Island Brown  Apteryx mantelli  Found: North Island, New Zealand
The North Island Brown Kiwi has brown plumage with some streaking. It is the only kiwi found on the North Island of New Zealand and is the most common.
Image by: 1) VC-s  2) The Rohit - Rainbow Springs Wiki Wildlife Park, New Zealand


Kiwi, Okarito  Apteryx rowi  Found: Okarito Forest on west coast of New Zealand's South Island
The Okarito Kiwi is found in a restricted area of the Okarito forest on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, and has a population of about only 400 birds.[
Image by: 1) Jan Veenstra


Kiwi, Southern Brown  also  Common Kiwi  Apteryx australis  Found: Stewart Island, New Zealand and southwest South Island, NZ
The Southern Brown Kiwi has rufous plumage with some streaking.
Image by: 1, 2) Smithsonian's National Zoo 3) Glen Fergus - Stewart Island, NZ




Family Casuariidae

This family only has one living genus, the cassowaries. They are shy birds of the deep forest. Females are bigger and more brightly colored. They have 3 toes and the middle has spike-like nail which is a dangerous weapon. They have a bony casque (hence tthe name) on top of the head.


Genus Casuarius
The cassowaries are flightless birds. They have horn-like but soft and spongy crests called casques on their heads, up to 18 cm (7 in). These consist of "a keratinous skin over a core of firm, cellular foam-like material". They are shy birds of the deep forest, thus seldom seen. Cassowaries can run up to 50 km/h (31 mph) through the dense forest. They can jump up to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) and they are good swimmers, crossing wide rivers and swimming in the sea as well.

Cassowary, Dwarf  Casuarius bennetti  Found: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
The Dwarf Cassowary has stiff black plumage; small triangular casque; pink cheeks; red patches of skin on its blue neck. It is the smallest of the cassowaries and has the shortest casque.
Image by: 1) David Cook - Papua New Guinea  2) George Bennett  3) Eerika Schulz
1) Juvenile


Cassowary, Northern
  Casuarius unappendiculatus   Found: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
The Northern Cassowary has hard and stiff black plumage; blue facial skin and a casque on top of the head; bright red or yellow colored neck and wattle. The feet are huge and strong with long, dagger-like claw on its inner toe.
Image by: 1) Bernard Dupont - Chinag Zoo, Thailand  2) viajar


Cassowary, Southern  Casuarius casuarius   Found: Australia and Pacific Islands
The Southern Cassowary has hard and stiff black plumage; blue face, neck; large casque on top of the head; red wattles. The feet are huge and strong with long, dagger-like claw on its inner toe. It is the larget of the cassowaries.
Image by: 1) David Cook - Far North Queensland  2) BS Thurner Hof  3) Dezidor   4) S. Shankar - Singapore Zoo
1) Juvenile




Family Dromaiidae

This family only has one living species, the Emu.


Genus Dromaius

Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae   Found: Australia
The Emu has soft brown plumage; 3 toes; height of up to 6 1/2 feet ( 2 meters). Their legs are strong and good for long distance running. Their 3 claws are good for defense. They are polygamous. The male does most of the incubation.
Image by:   1, 4) Dick Daniels - Pine Grove Bird Sanctuary, Virginia  2, 3, 5) Dick - Australia  6) Dick - San Francisco Zoo




Family Rheidae

This family only has one living genus, Rhea.


Genus Rhea
The Rhea have grayish-brown plumage; 3 toes; long neck and legs. They have large wings for a flightless birds and often spread them while running.` Rheas are polygamous. The male may mate with up to 12 females. They all lay their eggs in a communal nest which the male incubates.

Rhea, Greater Rhea americana  Found: South America
Image by:  1, 2, 3) Cláudio Timm - Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil   4) Dick Daniels - the Washington National Zoo  5) S. Shankar - Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
1) Female  2 - 5) Male


Rhea, Lesser also Darwin's Rhea Rhea pennata  Found: South America
Image by: 1) Jennifer Bergk  2, 3) Nick Athanas - Chile, Argentina




Family Struthionidae

This family only has one living species, the Ostrich.


Genus Struthio

Ostrich,_Commonh  Struthio camelus   Found: Africa
The male Common Ostrich has mostly black plumage with white primary feathers and a white tail. Females and juveniles are grayish-brow and white. It is the tallest of any bird and can occasionally reach 9 feet. It has the fastest land speed of any bird and can reach 40 mph. The ostrich is the only bird that secretes urine separately from feces.
Image by: 1, 3,6, 9) Dick Daniels - South Africa   2, 7) Sandy Cole - South Africa  4, 8) Dick - Tanzania   5, 10) Dick - Kenya
1) Chick   2, 3, 4, 5) female   6) juvenile male  7 -9) male 




Ostrich,_Somali  Struthio molybdophanes   Found: Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan
The skin of the neck and thighs of Somali Ostrich is gray-blue, rather pinkish of the Common Ostrich. It becomes bright blue on male during mating season. Male has white tail feathers.
Image by: 1) ninara  2) Christiaan_Kooyman  3) Steve_Garvie - Kenya








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