Struthio camelus

Description

The Ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. The feathers of an adult males are mostly black, with white primaries and a white tail. Females and young males are greyishbrown and white. The head and neck of both male and female ostriches is nearly bare, with a thin layer of down. The skin of the female’s neck and thighs is pinkish gray, while the male’s is blue-gray, gray or pink dependent on subspecies.

Size

An adult male will stand nearly 8 feet in height and weigh between 63-105kg. Females are slightly smaller.

Food

Ostriches eat various seeds, grasses and shrubs.

Habitat

Semi-arid grassland, shrubland and very open dry woodland.

Distribution

Ostriches are native to Africa, and used to live in the Middle East until they became extinct in the mid 20th century due to excessive hunting. Ostriches also live in heaps of other countries worldwide, in zoos and on farms.

Breeding

Male and female ostriches share the job of incubating eggs and caring for their chicks. Each female lays two to five eggs in a communal nest. The main hen puts her eggs in the centre of the nest so they have the best chance of hatching. The eggs hatch after about 40 days. A few days later the chicks leave the nest, which is really just a big scratch in the dirt, and travel with their parents.