Wings: Nature's Flying Machines | Hua rere a te taiao Te Papa's website Wings homepage

Wings for Kids

Cool facts about wings!!!

Bluebottle blowfly (Family Calliphoridae). Image © Jay Dykes


  • The kiwi does have wings but cannot fly.
  • The moa stood up to 3.5m tall, and did not have wings.
  • The moa was hunted by the Haast, or Harpagornis, eagle. This eagle had a wingspan of three metres.
  • There were eleven species of moa.
  • The kākāpō is the largest parrot in the world; it has wings but does not use them to fly.
  • Te Papa has about 70,000 stuffed birds in its collection.
  • The smallest bird in the world is the bee hummingbird, which is about 5.7cm long and weighs 1.6g - as big as a field mouse.
  • The largest bird is the ostrich, which weighs up to 150kg - about the same as two adults.
  • The fastest bird is the peregrine falcon, which can dive at speeds of up to 300kph (three times the maximum driving speed limit).
  • The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards.
  • Flies have two wings and they evolved about 250-60 million years ago, well before dinosaurs evolved.
  • The housefly beats its wings 200 times per second.
  • Dragonflies have four wings and evolved 300 million years ago, well before dinosaurs and birds.
  • Bats are the only mammals that can fly.
  • Flying fish can glide distances of over 100m.
  • Aboriginal people of Australia have been making wings in the form of boomerangs for at least 10,000 years.