The world’s largest bird, the ostrich can reach 2.8 metres in height and has a kick so powerful it can kill a human or an adult lion if threatened.
Due to their weighty body, flat breastbone and loose feathers, they are unable to fly and are instead built to run, being able to reach speeds of up to 43mph. These impressive birds are also hunted for their meat, skin and feathers. Their massive eyes, 5 centimetres across, help them to spot predators in the distance.
An ostrich can live up to 40 years and can produce an average of 60 eggs per year. All the females in the group lay in the dominant female’s nest and males and females take turns at incubation for 35 – 45 days. The males sit on the eggs at night as they cannot be seen in the dark, whereas the females’ lighter colouring provides better camouflage during the day. The eggs are 15 cm in length and weigh the equivalent of 24 normal hens’ eggs.
Ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand! When threatened and there is no chance of escape, they actually lie motionless on the ground. The pale colouration of their head and neck makes it appear as if they have buried their heads.
Savannah, Grassland, Semi-Desert, and plains
Roots, leaves, seeds, small insects, and lizards