The ostrich (Struthio camelus) is not only the largest flightless bird—it is the biggest of all birds. Ostrich is native to Africa. The bird shares its order with other flightless birds such as emus, cassowaries, rheas, and kiwis. It is also called common ostrich. There are four subspecies of ostrich.
It has the biggest eye of all land animals living today. Ostrich living in northern Africa seem to show pinkish necks whereas those occurring in south have grey neck.
Ostriches are found throughout the Africa ranging from North to South Africa. It is also found in Sahara, Middle East, and Asia Minor. They were quickly disappeared off the Middle East in the late 20th century.
The ostrich makes home in open habitats and savannas.
The bird has an omnivorous diet. Ostrich eats insects, grass, shrubs, flowers, seeds, fruits, locusts, and some stones. They don’t have teeth. They can go by many days without drinking. Ostrich likes to take bath in water.
Ostrich can run at a tremendous ground speed of 43 miles per hour—making it the fastest running bird in the world. They can however maintain the average speed of 31 miles per hour. Ostrich can easily cover 10 – feet in a single stride.
The big bird holds many world records. Yet another record is that the female ostrich lays the biggest eggs of any bird living today. It is also the fastest two-legged animal in the world.
Ostriches are thought to travel with herbivorous land mammals such as zebras and other antelopes. The female ostrich is called hen.
They will travel in nomadic groups. Each group may contain as many as 100 individuals but it is rare. The average number of members is 5 – 15 in a group. The group of ostriches is called harem.
Ostriches become active all day long but they do come out in moonlit nights.
The ostrich reaches maturity at 2 – 4 years age. The mating season occurs in March or April. During the breeding season, each harem contains as many as 2 to 7 hens. The female lays 20 eggs in a 60-cm-deep nest. Chicks are born after an incubation period of 35 – 45 days.
Ostrich has a lifespan of 30 – 40 years in the wild. The longest lived ostrich died at the age of 62 years and 7 months in captivity.
Ostrich’s eggs are 5.9 inches long, 5.1 inches wide, and weigh as much as 3.1 pounds. The chicken’s egg is nearly one-fourth of the ostrich’s egg. The color of the egg is creamy-white.