Ostrich Facts: The World’s Largest Bird

Ostriches are massive and flightless birds with long legs and the neck is long and extended from the body’s circular shape. Males are bold with their black and white coloring that they employ to attract females. Females however are lighter brown.

Ostriches have more power than any other species of bird. They can grow to nine inches (2.7 meters) in height and carry as much as 350 pounds. (145 kg) according to the African Wildlife Foundation and the eyes of an ostrich are 2 inches (5 centimeters) in length — the largest of can be seen by any animal living on land. Ostriches are the only animal with two toes on both feet. Other species have four or three toes, as per the American Ostrich Association.

Where do Ostriches live?

Wild ostriches live in hot, humid dry savannas as as in the woods of Africa. They used to roam across Asia, Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, but because they’ve been hunted often in the past, the distribution of the wild ostrich has been reduced to sub-Saharan Africa according to the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. But, ostriches are still captured in captivity all over the world.

What is the diet of Ostriches?

Ostriches are Omnivores. This means they eat both plants as well as meat. Although they are a species of plants, in particular seeds, roots, as well as leaves also consume reptiles like lizards and locusts as well as rodents, and various reptiles according to The San Diego Zoo. They also eat sand as well as pebbles in order to crush the food they consume in their stomachs. The pouch is a small one in which food items are chopped and crushed before it gets taken up by the stomach.

Ostriches don’t need water. They get every drop of water they require from the plants they consume. However, they also take a drink when they find a watering hole.

Sexual habits of Ostriches

Male Ostriches are called cocks or the roosters. Females are referred to as hens. Group of Ostriches is called by the term “flock”. A flock can be more than 100 birds however most consist of 10 birds according the San Diego Zoo. The group comprises two males who dominate, a dominant female, and numerous females. Males who are left alone go to mating season.

To attract females’ attention, males are able to bow and extend their wings outwards to show their bodies. If they’re about to get married then the male’s shins and beak will turn vibrant red. Sometimes the neck of the male can change colors so that it is similar to. Females also change color once they’re ready to mate. Females’ feathers change to a silvery color according to The American Ostrich Association.

Ostrich eggs & baby ostriches

Ostrich eggs are 6 inches (15 centimeters) in size. They could weigh as high up to 3 pounds. (1.3 tonnes). Eggs hatch inside a standard nest, known as dump nests. These could contain as many as 60 eggs. Females and males lay eggs until they hatch. It could take between 42 and 45 days.

Ostrich offspring are larger than the other birds’ babies. Once they are born they could be twice as big as chickens. Males and females share the same obligation to take care of the baby chicks as per San Diego Zoo. If there is an attack, the male will attempt to deter the predator away from the chicks, while the female will are able to seek refuge together with females.

At least six months old the chick’s baby is nearing the point of its adult size. at 3-4 years and growing, it matures. The lifespan of an ostrich ranges between 50 to 75 years.

Classification/Taxonomy

Ostriches are in the same family as cassowaries the emus as well as the rheas. The taxonomy of ostriches as per to Integrated Taxonomy Information System (ITIS) is:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Struthioniformes
  • Family: Struthionidae
  • Genus and speciesStruthio camelus
  • Subspecies Struthio camelus camelus (red-necked or North African ostrich), Struthio camelus molybdophanes (Somali Ostrich), Struthio camelus massaicus (Masai Ostrich), Struthio camelus australis (South African or Southern Ostrich)

Conservation status

According to the United Nations for Conservation of Natural Resources’ (IUCN) Red List, the majority of subspecies of ostriches aren’t considered endangered, despite their numbers are declining. It is believed that the Somali Ostrich is classified as vulnerable, though the population of this species is not identified. It is believed that they are on the brink of extinction.

Other details

It’s amazing that the legs of an ostrich can maintain their massive bodies straight. Their legs are placed in such a way that their body’s center of gravity is evenly distributed on its hind legs.

Their slim legs supply them with remarkable agility and speed and. They can achieve speeds of 40 miles an hour (64.3 kilometers/hour) for extended periods of time according to the American Ostrich Association.

Contrary to what is believed, Ostriches don’t place their heads in sand . They lie down with their backs to the ground when they feel threatened. It looks like the ostrich is digging a grave for its head because its neck as well as head blend in with the color of the sand.

Ostriches fight with their feet. They have been known to kick forward because of the way their legs curve according to the American Ostrich Association. A strong kick could cause the death of an ostrich.

Ostrich feathers appear shabby because they’re not tight and don’t join like feathers of other species of birds.

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