The ostrich is a flightless bird with many unique features. It is the tallest and heaviest of all birds, yet it can run long distances because of its long, powerful legs. It can run about 30mph over long distances and can sprint short bursts of around 40 miles per hour (mph)! They can also use their strong legs to kick in self defense.
Ostriches can be between 5 and 9 feet tall and weigh 200-300 pounds. They have long necks, big, bulging eyes, and long eyelashes. Their wings help them balance and their feathers are soft and loose, giving them a “shaggy” appearance. Males are black and white and females are a more grayish brown.
Ostriches live in groups of sometimes 100 or more birds. Ostriches are omnivores, and they eat whatever is available in their habitat at that time of the year. They mostly eat plants, especially roots, leaves, and seeds, but they also munch on insects, snakes, lizards, or rodents that come within reach.
Ostrich eggs are the largest in the world! Both males and females will help incubate the eggs. Newly hatched chicks are about the size of barnyard chickens, but they grow at a rate of 1 foot per month, and by 6 months of age they are nearly as large as their parents.
Did you know?
- Ostriches have the largest eye of any land mammal.
- Ostriches do NOT stick their heads in the ground when threatened! They lie flat, with their neck outstretched, blending in with the sand!