, also called Ratities, are a diverse group of flightless birds. They include the Cassowar
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.
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.
Kiwi, Great Spotted Apteryx haastii
Found: Forests of South Isand, New Zealand
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans
2) Blue Poppy
Kiwi, Little Spotted Apteryx owenii
Found: Kapti Island, New Zealand
Image by: 1) Jim the Photographer
- Darwin Museum, WIlmington Delaware, USA 2) Judi Miller
Kiwi, North Island Brown
Found: North Island, New Zealand
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
1) Jan Veenstra
Kiwi, Southern Brown
also Common Kiwi Apteryx australis
Found: Stewart Island, New Zealand and southwest South Island, NZ
Image by: 1, 2) Smithsonian's National Zoo
3) Glen Fergus
- Stewart Island, NZ
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.
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.
Found: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Image by: 1) David Cook
- Papua New Guinea 2) George Bennett
3) Eerika Schulz
Cassowary, Northern Casuarius unappendiculatus
Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Image by: 1) Bernard Dupont
- Chinag Zoo, Thailand 2) viajar
Cassowary, Southern Casuarius casuarius
Found: Australia and Pacific Islands
Image by: 1) David
- Far North Queensland 2) BS Thurner Hof
4) S. Shankar
- Singapore Zoo
This family only has one living species, the Emu.
Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae
Image by: 1, 4) Dick Daniels
- Pine Grove Bird Sanctuary, Virginia 2, 3, 5
) Dick - Australia 6) Dick
- San Francisco Zoo
This family only has one living 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
also Darwin's Rhea Rhea pennata
Found: South America
Image by: Jennifer Bergk
This family only has one living species, the Ostrich.
Ostrich,_Commonh Struthio camelus
Image by: 1, 3,6, 9)
- South Africa 2, 7)
Sandy Cole - South Africa 4, 8) Dick
- Tanzania 5, 10) Dick
1) Chick 2, 3, 4, 5) female 6) juvenile male 7 -9) male
Ostrich,_Somali Struthio molybdophanes
Found: Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan
Image by: 1) ninara