Throughout countless posts, we’ve discussed emus and their beneficial oils extensively. We’ve even covered the difference between emus and the fellow flightless ostrich. While we’re at it, we thought it’d be interesting to take a deeper look into the other flightless birds found in the group ratites. Though ostriches are the largest living ratite, it wasn’t always that way. Some extinct species were actually twice their size!
Of course, we’re sure none of the emus’ fellow ratites offered such beneficial oils to mankind, but they’re all still quite interesting. From the largest birds in existence to chicken-size kiwis, ratites are a diverse group of birds. Let’s take a closer look.
Flightless Birds: Extinct Ratites
When it comes to flightless birds, both living and extinct ratites take the cake for most interesting, but that’s our opinion. As mentioned, some now-extinct forms of these flightless birds were much larger than what we’re used to today. While ostriches and emus are two of the largest living birds, their predecessors were much larger. Take a look below:
- Moa: Native to New Zealand, the moa species ranged from turkey-sized birds to one of the largest birds, weighing up to 500 pounds and standing 12 feet tall! By 1400, the moa became extinct as the first humans arrived in New Zealand.
- Aepyornis Maximus: Though shorter than the moa, the aepyornis was the largest bird known to exist. Referred to as the elephant bird, these giants could weigh nearly 900 pounds and reach heights over 9 feet. Three smaller species existed as well, though they slowly disappeared after the arrival of humans.
Living Forms of Ratites
Continuing on through the list of flightless birds that form the ratite group, the birds to follow still live today. As mentioned, we’ve discussed emus extensively, and even went into depth on ostriches in our last post. With this, let us fill you in on the remaining ratites.
- Cassowary: Native to Australia and New Guinea along with the emu, cassowaries are shorter than emus, yet heavier. When threatened, cassowaries can be very dangerous and are likely to attack.
- Rhea: A mid-sized flightless bird, one species of the rhea, the American rhea, typically weighs 45-55 pounds and stands nearly 5 feet tall. The rhea is native to South America.
- Kiwi: Consisting of five species, kiwis are the smallest bird in the ratite group. From New Zealand, kiwis are about the size of a chicken. They’re nocturnal and nest in burrows. Surprisingly, kiwi eggs are quite large in comparison to the bird’s size.
Emus: The Beneficial Flightless Bird
There you have it: a list of emus’ fellow flightless birds. Ranging from 10 feet tall to a mere 16 inches, ratites are quite interesting, not to mention diverse. While interesting, none of these birds are quite as beneficial as the emu and its beneficial oils.