Ostriches are large, flightless birds that have long legs and a long neck that protrudes from a round body. Males have bold black-and-white coloring that they use to attract females. Females, on the other hand, are light brown.
Ostriches are bigger than any other bird in the world. They can grow up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall and can weigh up to 320 lbs. (145 kilogramsand an ostrich’s eyes are 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter — the largest of any land animal. The ostrich is the only bird that has two toes on each foot. All other birds have three or four toes,It may seem amazing that an ostrich’s thin legs can keep their large bodies upright. Their legs are perfectly placed so that the body’s center of gravity balances on top of its legs. Their thin legs give them great speed and maneuverability, too. They can run up to 40 mph (64.3 km/h) for sustained periods of time
Ostrich eggs & baby ostriches,
Ostrich eggs are 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter and can weigh up to 3 lbs. (1.3 kg). Eggs are laid in a communal nest called a dump nest, which can hold about 60 eggs at one time. Males, as well as females, sit on the eggs until they hatch, which can take 42 to 46 days.
Ostrich offspring are larger than any other bird baby. At birth, chicks can be as big as chickens. The males and females share the responsibility of taking care of the young, according to the San Diego Zoo. During an attack, the male tries to lure the predator away from the chicks while they run for cover with the female.
By six months, a chick is almost at its full-grown height; at 3 or 4 years, it will reach maturity. An ostrich can live 50 to 75 years.
Where do ostriches live?
Wild ostriches live in the dry, hot savannas and woodlands of Africa. They once roamed all over Asia, Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, but because they have been hunted so extensively, wild ostriches’ range has been reduced to sub-Saharan Africa, according to the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. However, ostriches can be found in captivity all over the world.
Male ostriches are called cocks or roosters, and females are called hens. A group of ostriches is called a flock. Flocks can consist of up to 100 birds, though most have 10 members, according to the San Diego Zoo. The group has a dominant male and a dominant female and several other females. Lone males come and go during mating season.
To get a female’s attention, males bow and flap their wings outward to display their plumage. When they are ready to mate, the male’s beak and shins will turn bright red. Sometimes, his neck will change to a red color to match. Females also change color when they are ready to mate. Their feathers will turn a silvery color, according to the American Ostrich Association.
according to the American Ostrich Association.
Contrary to popular belief, ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand, but they do lie down with their heads against the ground when they feel threatened. It only looks like the ostrich has buried its head because its head and neck blend in with the color of the sand.
Ostriches fight with their feet. They kick forward because that’s the direction in which their legs bend, according to the American Ostrich Association. A solid kick can kill a lion.
Ostrich feathers look shaggy because they hang loosely and don’t hook together like feathers on other types of birds.
The Ostrich (Struthiocamelus – meaning ‘camel-like’) is the worlds largest flightless bird which is native to the savannas and grasslands of South Africa. It has also been introduced to Australia. The ostrich is a member of the ratite (which means flightless bird) family of birds. It is the only living species in the family: Struthionidae and a member of the order:
Struthioniformes which also includes Rheas, Emus, Kiwis and Cassowaries which are also large, flightless birds from different parts of the world. A male Ostrich is called a rooster and a female Ostrich is called a hen. A baby Ostrich is called a chick. A group of Ostriches is called a Herd.
Ostriches can grow to measure 1.7 – 2.8 metres (5.5 – 9.4 feet) in height and weigh 130 – 150 kilograms. Despite being flightless, Ostriches have small wings that are covered with fluffy feathers. The wings are too small to lift the Ostriches heavy bodies off the ground and into the air but are used as rudders when the bird is running to help it change direction.
Ostriches have long, bare necks, a flat, broad beak with a rounded tip and large eyes. They have long, powerful, bare legs and strong feet with 2 sharp claws on each foot which are used for defence. Their massive leg muscles enable them to deliver a powerful kick which could seriously injure or even kill an attacker. However, Ostriches can only kick forwards.
Ostriches contain their main musculature in the hips and thighs. The long legs enable the Ostrich to run at speeds of over 65 kilometres per hour (40 miles per hour). A male Ostrich has a black plumage with white wing tips, however, females and chicks have a brownish, more duller plumage which helps them camouflage.
In scorching desert conditions where temperatures may rise above 120 degrees fahrenheit, the Ostriches body is fine-tuned to stay around 18 degrees less. Any higher than this disrupts the Ostriches internal chemistry. Therefore, the Ostrich uses anatomy, physiology and behaviour in order to stay cool. Ostriches also have acute eyesight and hearing and can sense predators from far away.
The Ostriches preferred habitats are savanna, scrub, grasslands and semi-deserts. Ostriches enjoy water and often take baths where water sources are available. They are good swimmers too.
Ostriches are omnivorous and will eat almost anything they can find. They eat a variety of foods from seeds and plant matter to lizards and frogs. Ostriches have no teeth and therefore often swallow pebbles to help with digestion in the gizzard. Food collects in the crop then slides down the neck in a bolus. The ostrich has intestines 14 metres long so that it gets the most out of the tough plants it eats. They are able to go without water for several days surviving on the moisture from plants instead. They are also capable of making their own water internally.
Ostriches have a nomadic lifestyle and are mostly diurnal, active early and late in the day. They roam around the savannas in groups of 50 birds. Males are territorial and will defend their territory aggressively.
Ostriches do not really bury their heads in the sand. When an Ostrich is threatened, it will lie flat on the ground to appear less obvious or run away. If caught, the Ostrich will kick out at its pursuer with its powerful legs.
An Ostrich will also use posture to intimidate a rival or predator whereby it will fluff up its wing feathers and hiss loudly. Ostriches are designed for speed and most will comfortably outrun their predators which include lions, leopards and hyenas. Ostriches are very vocal birds and vocalizations include whistling, booming, hissing and snorting.
During the breeding season around March/April, male Ostriches fight for harems of 2 – 7 females with which to mate with. They defend their territory by patrolling and displaying and by making loud booming calls. They also inflate their bright pink necks. Ostriches engage in a unique form of co-operative breeding.
After mating, several females from the neighbourhood will deposit their eggs in communal nest pits in the sand that have been dug by the male. Only the alpha female will work with the male to incubate the eggs taking it in turns to sit on the nest. Females sit on the eggs by day and males sit on the eggs by night.
Ostrich eggs are around 16 centimetres in length, weigh 3 pounds and are glossy and cream in colour. They are the largest bird eggs of all. Once hatched (after around 6 weeks), the brood of up to 40 chicks form creches. Sometimes Ostriches steal chicks from other birds to add to their own brood to make it larger.
The male Ostrich is the main carer. The tiny ostriches immediately learn to follow the male, clustering around his feet as they try to keep up with the sometimes formidable strides (3 – 5 metres long) of the group. The male Ostrich shows the chicks how to feed and protects them from predators and the elements using his wings to shelter them from the hot sun.
During their first year, Ostrich chicks grow around 25 centimetres per month. Ostriches become sexually mature between 2 and 4 years of age although females mature around 6 months earlier than males. The life span of an Ostrich can be up to 75 years with around 50 years being typical
Facts about Ostrich in UgandaOstrich in Uganda
Uganda is a spectacular destination that provides a safe home and habitat to variety of bird life and wildlife species which can be encountered during wildlife safaris in Uganda. Ostrich is the largest living bird species on earth and lays the largest eggs than any other bird. It is distinctive in its appearance with a long neck and legs, and also has the fastest land speed than any other bird. This bird can run as fast as 70 km/ hr.
An ostrich lays up to 15 eggs a month, and each egg is laid after every two days and they lay eggs during dry months of the year, usually in February and June. The male ostrich prepares the ground for laying eggs and will dig a hole of about 1 meter wide and 1 foot deep and later fills it with lake sand on which eggs are laid to generate warmth that would enable hatching.
Ostrich are also so vulnerable to predators and when threatened can run although they have powerful long legs that can be a formidable weapon capable of killing humans and potential predators like lions with a forward kick. Its body size ranges from 1.8-2.75 m and weighs up to 155 kg and mostly found in savannah areas, in the semi-arid and sometimes desert areas.
Ostrich produce giant eggs which is the largest of all living birds which can be 15 cm long and weighing as much as two dozens of chicken eggs. The eggs are incubated by the dominant female in the herd during the day and at night by the male in order to use their coloration to avoid detection of the nest as the drab female blends in with the sand and the dark male is very difficult to detect at night. The male defends the hatchlings (after taking 35-45 days incubation) and teaching them how to feed although both male and female cooperate in the rearing of the chicks.
Ostrich don’t have teeth and therefore swallow pebbles to grind their food and an adult ostrich can carry about 1kg of stones at any one time and can go without drinking for several days surviving on metabolic water and moisture in ingested roots, seeds and insects but enjoy liquid water and frequently take a bath where water is available. They possess very large eyes measuring almost 5 cm across allowing them to spot predators like lions within a long distance.
In some African countries people practice ostrich races where one seats on the back of an ostrich made with a special saddle, reins and bits. Ostrich in Uganda can only be found in Kidepo valley national park in north eastern part of the country and at the Uganda wildlife Education Centre; ostriches are apparently endemic to Africa living in Savannah semi – arid areas.