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12 surprising flightless birds

By: Jaymi Heimbuch on June 2, 2017, 11:34 a.m.
This rail is the smallest flightless bird in the world and is found only on a single island.

Photo: Brian Gratwicke/Wikipedia

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Inaccessible Island rail

If you want to survive as a flightless bird in this world, it helps to be inaccessible. It really helps if you live on an island literally called Inaccessible. The Inaccessible Island rail is just that — a bird living on an island surrounded by huge cliffs, making getting to the island, let alone into the interior, difficult for visitors.

This is the smallest flightless bird in the world, and it is found only on Inaccessible Island in the Tristan Archipelago, which has, thankfully, remained free of predators. On their little island paradise, the birds enjoy roaming the grasslands and open fern-brush looking for insects, worms and seeds to feast upon.

Though such a remote location helps significantly to stay safe, such a minimal range still means the species is listed as vulnerable. Should one day rats or other predators, or species that compete for food be introduced to the island, the fate of this little rail may change. This is why conservation efforts, including designation of the island as a nature reserve, help keep the species as protected as possible.