Q:

Why do chickens have wings if they cant fly?

A:

Quick Answer

Chickens have wings because they are birds, and birds by definition have wings. That the wings of chickens don't allow them to fly very well is irrelevant to their classification as birds.

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Full Answer

Other flightless birds from history include the dodo, the moa and the elephant bird, which are now extinct. Extant flightless birds are the ostrich, the emu, the rhea, the cassowary, the kiwi and an odd New Zealand parrot called the kea. For some of these birds, such as the kiwi and the emu, the feathers resemble hair or fur more than feathers.

While the penguin also cannot fly through the air, its wings have been modified into appendages very much like flippers. These flippers allow the penguin to swim effortlessly under water in order to catch fish more efficiently.

Scientists believe that some birds are flightless because they live in areas where there aren't many predators. Other flightless birds are big, such as the ostrich, and can defend themselves, their offspring and their territory.

The ancestor of the chicken is the red junglefowl, which originated in Southeast Asia. This bird can fly, but tends to restrict its flying to avoiding predators and reaching its roost in the trees.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Are chickens mammals or reptiles?

    A:

    Technically speaking, chickens and other birds are reptiles. Chickens are very remotely related to mammals, as mammals are descended from creatures that went down a separate evolutionary pathway from the ancestors of birds starting about 320 million years ago.

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  • Q:

    What can chickens eat?

    A:

    Chickens eat a diet that consists of commercial chicken feed, fruits, vegetables, grains, insects and worms. Laying hens may receive additional feed or supplements, such as oyster shells, in addition to commercial feed.

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  • Q:

    How do chickens mate?

    A:

    Chickens mate when a rooster and a hen each brings an external orifice called a cloaca into contact with one another, according to Real Clear Science. The cloaca is found on both roosters and hens. When a rooster and a hen place their respective cloaca in contact with one another, sperm passes from the rooster into the hen.

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  • Q:

    Where did chickens originate?

    A:

    Historians aren't sure where the first chicken originated. The first historical reference to chickens may have occurred in 2000 B.C., in Mesopotamia. This is debatable, as the bird was referred to as "the bird of Meluhha," although scholars admit it is possible the bird was a chicken.

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