The ostrich is a flightless bird, native to Africa and certain parts of southwest Asia. It is the largest living bird, and has managed to generate a lot of curiosity among people due to its large body size and inability to fly. However, it more than compensates for its inability to fly by running faster than a lion or a hyena! In the following section, you will find a list of some interesting facts about the ostrich.
Fun FactThe ostrich belongs to the Ratite family of birds. The male is called a rooster while the female is called a hen!
Facts About Ostriches
- One of the most well-known facts is that an ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain. It measures almost two inches across, which makes it the largest eye among any land animal.
- The ostrich is the largest and heaviest living bird in the world.
- The ostrich is a flightless bird for many reasons. Firstly, it has small and loose feathers, and does not have a keeled sternum (breastbone) which is common in most birds.
- It can go on to live for almost fifty years.
- The habitat of this bird varies, and though it was initially found in abundance in Africa and Asia minor, it is now mostly found in the Savannah region and in certain parts of Africa.
- Female ostriches have the uncanny ability to recognize their own eggs even if they are mixed with those of other females in their communal nest.
- An ostrich hen can lay somewhere between forty to hundred eggs in a year. One ostrich egg weighs around 1,600 grams, which is equivalent to the weight of about twenty-four chicken eggs. It takes around two hours to hard boil. An ostrich's egg hatches in forty-two days.
- Ostriches are very powerful birds; so much so, that a single kick to a predator, like a lion or a tiger, could prove to be fatal.
- Ostriches can run at a pace of up to 70 kmh (40 mph). Thus, they can outrun most land predators such as lions, leopards, and hyenas.
- A fully grown ostrich has one of the strongest and most advanced immune systems known to mankind.
- One of the most interesting ostrich facts is that, despite being a flightless bird, ostriches have wings which serve many other purposes. They hold their wings out to help maintain their balance when they run, which specially comes in handy if they suddenly need to change direction. However, the main purpose of their wings is to display them, along with their tail feathers during courtship. To show dominance, an ostrich holds its head up high, and lifts its wings and tail feathers. To show submission, the head, wings, and tail droop down.
- One of the most common myths about ostriches is that they bury their head in the sand. This isn't true. When an ostrich senses danger and cannot run away, it flops to the ground and remains still with its head and neck flat on the ground in front of it. As the head and neck are light-colored, they seem to blend in with the soil, which makes it look like the ostrich has buried its head in the sand.
- Ostrich meat resembles beef in its appearance, and is also cooked in a similar manner as that of beef. This meat is very low in cholesterol and calories, and is almost free of fat.
- If you're wondering as to what do ostriches eat, then you need to understand that they are omnivores, and eat whatever is available in their habitat at different times of the year. They mostly eat plants, especially the roots, seeds, and leaves. These flightless birds also enjoy munching on insects like locusts, and small animals like lizards.
- One of the most amazing facts is that, they do not actually need to drink water! They get adequate amount of water from the plants that they eat, although they will drink water if they reach a pond or a water hole.
- Ostriches prefer to live in groups, which helps them keep predators at bay. Due to their long necks and keen vision, they can see long distances, and can spot any kind of threat or danger from afar.
- Ostriches produce the strongest commercially available leather in the world, and have some of the most sought after feathers.
- The ostrich has only two toes on each foot, which helps give it more speed while running.