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Ostrich Facts

The ostrich is the world’s largest bird and weighs up to 159 kg. It has a long, bare neck, long, sturdy legs, and a bulky body covered with feathers.

The common ostrich is the largest living bird species and is a flightless bird native to Africa and is one of two extant species of the genus Struthio.

It has a long neck and legs. It is the largest living bird species and can run for a long time at a speed of 55 km/h (34 mph).

The ostrich diet consists mainly of plant matter, and it lives in nomadic groups of 5-50 birds. It is farmed around the world for its feathers, skin, and meat.

The feathers of adult male ostriches are black, with white primaries and a whitetail. The feathers of female ostriches are grayish-brown and white.

Ostrich Facts for Kids

  • The ostrich is the world’s largest bird.
  • The ostrich has three stomachs.
  • They can sprint over 70 km/hr 
  • In the wild, ostriches can live up to 50 years.
  • They have tiny brains.
  • The ostrich has powerful legs and clawed toes. 
  • Ostriches are warm-blooded birds.
  • They can grow to be 9 feet tall and weigh 350 pounds.
  • Ostriches have the largest eyes of any land animal.

What do Ostrich Eat

Ostriches eat mainly seeds, shrubs, grass, fruit, and flowers, and occasionally insects and small reptiles like lizards. They also take baths and can go without water for several days.

Ostrich Predators and Enemies

They face many predators in their lifetime, including cheetahs, lions, leopards, African hunting dogs, spotted hyenas, and Nile crocodiles. Cheetahs are the most prolific predators, while lions generally avoid ostriches due to their speed, vigilance, and dangerous kick.

Predators of their nests include jackals, various birds of prey, warthogs, mongoose, and Egyptian vultures, which can be distracting by feigning injury or attacking to get at the nest or young.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

Where do ostriches live?

They live in the savannas and Sahel of Africa and in the deserts of southwest Africa. 

They spend the winter months in pairs or alone. During breeding season and sometimes during extreme rainless periods, they travel together with other grazing animals like zebras and antelopes.

Good Eyesight and Hearing

The ostrich has acute eyesight and hearing, can sense lions from far away, can reach speeds of 70 km/h (40 mph) and 50 km/h (30 miles per hour), and is the world’s fastest two-legged animal.

Ostrich eggs

Ostrich chicks hatch from an egg, the mother incubates eggs in a shallow nest on the ground, the ostrich hen lays eggs, and the ostrich cock performs with his wings, alternating wing beats until he attracts a mate.

The ostrich has a relatively short incubation period, and the male defends the hatchlings and teaches them to feed. Fewer than 10% of nests survive the 9-week period of laying and incubation, and of the chicks that survive, only 15% survive to 1 year of age.

Common ostriches become sexually mature at 2 to 4 years old and mate for life. The mating process differs in different geographical regions.

Ostrich feathers

They have a comprehensive set of behavioral adaptations for thermoregulation, including raising their feathers to increase air space next to their skin and exposing the thermal windows of their skin in times of heat stress.

At low ambient temperatures, the ostrich uses feather flattening and shivering to conserve body heat and prevent heat loss to the environment.

More Fun Facts about Ostriches

Among all living birds, ostriches lay giant eggs that are as long as 15cm and weigh as much as two dozen chicken eggs.

They can go without drinking for several days, using metabolic water and moisture in ingested roots, seeds, and insects.

An ostrich can kick with force powerful enough to kill when cornered. It also has two-toed feet, which are armed with sharp claws.

Ostriches are very tall and have excellent eyesight, but if danger comes too close, they will often lie low to blend in with the sandy soil where they live.

Ostriches live in groups, called herds, which consist of around 12 individuals. The alpha male is the leader of the herd.

The alpha male makes a nest in the ground for the hens to lay their eggs, which are the largest eggs in the world, weighing up to 1.5kg.

The main female lays up to 11 eggs, which are then incubated by the alpha male and dominant female.

Find more information about Ostriches here

Natgeokids – Great information on this website

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