Originally, I was going to do a post for each one, but I found that the subspecies all looked the same. That was becoming an issue for previous posts where I didn’t know if I had the right subspecies. So, I decided to simply make a big post about 4 of the 5 ratites. One gets its own post next Sunday.
A ratite is usually a tall, long-necked flightless bird with the exception of the one we’ll see another day. I’m sure someone will spoil it in the comments. Anyway, this group includes the following animals:
- Moa (Extinct)
- Elephant Bird (Extinct)
Early humans hunted the last two into extinction, so we only have skeletons. This means we’ll stick to the four living ones.
Rhea, Emu, and Ostrich have all been sources of food and clothing decorations. They have also been raised on farms to make sure they don’t go extinct. Feathers have been popular decorations for centuries and their hide has been used to make leather. Eggs have been used for food, water bowls, and art. Their meat is fairly popular too. I’ve actually had that and it’s surprisingly light. Standing out, the Emu is also raised to make oil from their fat, which is used for medicine.
A few populations of the previous 3 are considered endangered, but they are not considered such as a whole. Emus seem to have a history of being rather hardy and plentiful to the point where there was even a war. In late 1932, the Australian government ‘declared war’ on a large Emu population and took military action. The birds were destroying crops because of their large numbers. Hard to sum the whole thing up, so check up the Wikipedia page.
You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned one of the ratites. The cassowary differs from the others in many ways. First, it prefers jungles to open plains like the others. They are also considered ‘the most dangerous bird’ because they are capable of killing dogs and humans if provoked. Their weapons are the claws on their three-toed feet with the middle one being a 5 inch dagger. The cassowary is considered endangered.
Let’s get to the pictures and videos then.