The ancestor of all birds today survived the catastrophic asteroid that killed the dinosaurs because it was a quail-like creature that swayed on the ground.
All the flying birds became extinct after the asteroid hit our planet 66 million years ago, causing global deforestation.
It is believed that the asteroid struck the Earth at 40 times the speed of sound, causing an explosion seven billion larger than the Hiroshima bomb.
Only the birds on the ground could survive, and evolved again flight thousands of years later, according to researchers at the University of Bath.
Researchers analyzed the fossil record in plants that survived after the asteroid killed dinosaurs.
Dr. Daniel Field of the University of Bath said: "We rely on a variety of approaches to unite this story."
"We conclude that the devastation of the forests after the impact of the asteroids explains why the birds that lived in the trees did not survive this extinction event.
" The ancestors of the modern birds that lived in the trees did not move until the forests recovered from the asteroid that caused the extinction. "