ratite


ratite

Any bird species that cannot fly because its smooth, or raftlike, sternum (breastbone) lacks a keel to which flight muscles can be anchored. The group includes some of the largest birds of all time. Two extinct types, the slow-moving, heavy-bodied elephant bird of Madagascar and the moas of New Zealand, grew to 10 ft (3 m) tall. Extant ratites include the cassowary, emu, kiwi, ostrich, and rhea.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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