The Ostrich

The Ostrich is an easy to identify bird which everyone identifies with Africa and safari.  But there is actually a bit of confusion with regard to them.  Some say there is two species, the Common Ostrich, and the Small Ostrich, while others say that there is just the one species (the Common Ostrich) and that Small Ostrich is a sub species.

The Ostrich is a large bird and can vary in size from 60 to 150 kg, but the average is well over 100kg with the male generally being 5 to 10 kg heavier.  They are easily distinguished apart as the male has black feathers and the female has brown.  they grow up to 2.8 metres in height, and their eyes are said to be the biggest of any land mammal or bird.  The Ostrich is the fastest land bird and it can run up to 70 KPH (50 mph), which is a very fast runner covering up to 5 metres in a single stride when running at full pace.  This speed ensures they can out run most predators (unless they are caught by surprise the exception is Cheetah which can outrun ostrich and they form part of the cheetah natural diet.

Everything about ostriches is on a big scale including their eggs which are 15 cm long and weigh 1.4 kg.  These are 20 times the size of chicken eggs and are often displayed in baskets as decoration.  In the wild the number of eggs that hatch is low, and when they do hatch the number of chicks that reach 1 year old is also low at under 10%.  However they don't have many predators and once established they tend to be very long lived and can reach over 60 years in captivity.