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Teacher's Prompt: Ratite Feathers

It’s Wildlife Writing Wednesday, and we’ve compiled some additional information for you as the instructor in case:

  • you want to offer any introductory discussion for your students before releasing the prompt to them

  • it is helpful for you in your evaluation/understanding

  • this understanding helps you to alter the prompt for grade level


How are the plume feathers Ratites have different from feathers of birds of flight? How do you think this physical feature affects the bird's ability to run, and why might running be important for these animals in the wild?

The feathers in the picture at the top of this page belong to a Rhea.

A Rhea is one of five Ratite bird species. A Ratite is a large, flightless bird. Ratites have a different type of breastbone, which prevents them from flying. However, Ratites are very fast runners. The Ratites all originate from different continents.

For more information about Rheas or any of the different Ratite species, visitIUCN's Red List site.


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