5 Birds That Kick (Watch Out For These)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Birds have feet that allow them to travel around their environment in search of food. Usually, most birds scratch the soil off with their feet in search of a meal.

The feet of most birds are large and strong. Therefore, it assists them in capturing, grabbing, and killing their prey.

However, there are some other birds that have been discovered to kick.

In this article, we’ll go over 5 birds that are known kickers.

5 Birds That Kick

1. Ostrich 

Birds That Kick

Basically, each bird has its own set of defense adaptations. One of an ostrich’s defense features is its legs. 

Their legs are long and strong. They have strong feet as well, with two sharp claws on each foot.

They have thick muscles on their legs as well. This enables them to deliver a powerful kick when attacked.

The attacker is likely to be injured or killed as a result of this. 

Their kick could be extremely dangerous. This is due to their long and strong toenails on their front feet, which can grow up to 7 centimeters in length. 

Ostriches are also fast, especially when under distress. 

A professional boxer can only hit 800 pounds per square inch. Thus, an ostrich can kick any human and kill them with a single kick!

That’s how strong the legs of an ostrich are. 

A kick from an ostrich’s leg has a 500 psi impact, which is enough to kill anything under attack. 

You should have a second thought before getting close to an ostrich.

Ostriches are extremely fast, and as soon as they catch up to you, they will attack by kicking you in the back. 

A scared ostrich can reach a speed of 72.5 kilometers per hour. This is equivalent to 45 miles per hour. 

Related: Here is an article I wrote on birds that nests on cliffs

2. Cassowary 

They are large ground birds. They are flightless birds with many similarities to emus. They are usually quite large.

Cassowaries can weigh up to 90kg. They stand about 6 feet tall. 

Their legs are very muscular. And this allows them to run quickly and jump. They also have extremely powerful kicks.

Cassowaries have the ability to kick both forward and downward.

Cassowaries have three-toed feet with sharp claws. The second toe, the inner one in the medial position, has a dagger-like claw that may be 125 mm long. 

This claw is especially frightening because cassowaries use their powerful legs to kick humans and other animals. 

They have a powerful kick, jabbing with their claws like daggers or swiping downwards in a slashing motion. 

They can also easily launch themselves through the air with their claws extended straight out.

This usually appears to be a karate kick and rapier attack at waist height. 

Cassowaries can run at up to 50 km/h through dense forest and jump up to 1.5 m.

Interestingly, these birds are strong swimmers. They are capable of crossing large rivers and swimming in the sea. 

3. Emus

Emus are known for their speed. They are pretty much good runners. Emus can run at nearly 50 km per hour.

In addition to running, emus use their legs to kick at predators.

Their powerful kick, combined with the sharp nails on their toes, can injure predators, allowing this bird to flee.  

When they are attacked, they kick with their large three-toed feet.

The toe claws of emus, like those of cassowaries and ostriches, are capable of causing damage to animals under the right conditions.

However, human fatalities are extremely rare. 

However, there have been reports of emu attacks resulting in a variety of injuries.

These attacks are said to occur in Australia, wild-animal parks, emu farms, and zoos around the world.  

Emus’ attacks are not uncommon in those areas. Studies show that more than 100 occurred in 2009 alone. 

Emus can grow to be 6 feet tall and weigh 120 pounds.

They can kick forward very powerfully. but they usually can’t kick backwards. 

The only way to hold down an emu is by going through the back. You will have to give them a strong hold from behind and grab their sternum. 

Also check out this article I wrote on birds that simply glide

4. Secretary birds 

Secretary birds have exceptionally long legs, more than twice the length of an athletic ground bird of equivalent body mass.

This is widely assumed to represent selection for rapid foot-strikes during kick-hunting. 

They are a large terrestrial bird of prey that stands about 4 feet tall. These birds are found throughout Africa south of the Sahara. 

The bird gets its name from its crest of long feathers.

Their feathers resemble the quill pens that 19th century office workers used to tuck behind their ears. 

These bird species appear in different colors. They can be grey, whitish, and black with a small bill and head.

These birds have a bare face, a relatively long neck, unusually long bare legs, and a long, graduated tail with a greatly elongated central rectrices.

They live in grasslands ranging from open plains to lightly wooded savanna. But they are also found in agricultural areas and sub-desert.

It varies from sea level to nearly 10,000 feet.

Secretary birds feed on snakes, other reptiles, amphibians, tortoises, rats, and other small mammals, as well as young game birds.

They frequently kick and stamp on the prey’s head until it is killed or incapacitated.

This is especially important when dispatching larger lizards and venomous snakes. 

The consequences of a missed strike when hunting venomous snakes can be fatal. Therefore, secretary bird kicking strikes necessitate quick yet precise neural control.

5  Peregrine Falcons:

The peregrine falcon is a bird of prey. They belong to the Falconidae family. These birds are also known as peregrine falcons.

However, in North America, these birds have historically been referred to as duck hawks.

Peregrine falcons are crow-sized falcons. They have a blue-grey back, white underparts that are banded, and a black head.

These birds are well-known for their agility. When they hunt, they’re able to reach speeds of nearly 320 km/h.

This automatically earns them a spot as the fastest birds on the planet. They are also ranked as the  fastest animals in the world.

Peregrine falcons are dangerous. These birds are also kicking birds. When hunting, Peregrine falcons descend at amazing speeds on their target.

They then strike their victim out of the sky using their feet.

However, peregrines are a romantic species of bird. They usually stay with the same mate from year to year.

However, in a situation where they lose their spouse, the surviving falcon will accept a replacement mate as soon as possible.

Research says that a peregrine falcon would get a new partner a week following the death of its spouse.


Birds do a lot with their feet. They scratch, grab, capture, kick, etc.  Some birds kick to protect themselves from predators, while others kick at their prey to attack it. 

Most birds of prey, like emus, ostriches, and cassowaries, are known to kick. These birds have very large and strong feet.

And this makes it possible for them to give a kick that can cause harm to even humans. 

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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