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12 surprising flightless birds

By: Jaymi Heimbuch on June 2, 2017, 11:34 a.m.
A weka bird struts across a green lawn.

Photo: Jörg Hempel/Wikipedia

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Weka

Rails are usually known for being shy but not this species. "The weka is a large, brown flightless bird that has a famously feisty and curious personality," says the Department of Conservation in New Zealand. Like other secretive rail species, the weka is more often heard than seen, but like raccoons, they are known for thieving food and other small objects and running off to a hiding place to explore them. So if something small goes missing from your campsite or even your house, it may very well be this flightless bird that snatched it.

The species is listed as vulnerable, with a variety of threats coming from different angles, including drought, car strikes along roads, and pest control operations that use bait on the ground or traps. Unfortunately, that famous curiosity for new objects doesn't do it any favors when traps for other pests are set.