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About Ostrich

The ostrich is the largest living bird. An adult male will stand nearly 8 feet in height and weigh between 140 to 230 pounds (63-105kg). The ostrich is perfectly adapted to a mode of life that depends on running to escape predators. It has evolved a cloven hoof consisting of only two toes, similar to that of the other animals that share its plain's existence.
An ostrich has been seen to pass an antelope in full gallop at 40 miles per hour, a feat which places it among the fastest of all birds, in spite of the fact that it does not fly.
Having abandoned flight the Ostrich has lost the strong, stiff feathers of the wing and tail that mark aerial species. Instead, a growth of soft plumage, with almost the warmth of down, acts as an insulation against the harsh temperature endured by Ostriches throughout their arid range. The ostrich's wings are very small. Two of the wing fingers end in claws or spurs that can be used in attack.

In the open dry grasslands of East Africa, South Africa, and in the Sahara and adjacent Sahel area.

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Ostriches are nomadic, wandering wherever food is most readily available. However, they never stray very far from water, of which they need a gallon-and-a-half a day. Excellent eyesight and acute hearing are the ostrich's most important senses. Like a giraffe the ostrich is an important  sentinel for many African grazing mammals such as antelopes, zebras, giraffes and gazelles.
In addition to speed, their long legs adapt them to roam great distances in search of food and water, and are capable of powerful kicks against predators. The ostrich's thick eyelashes protect its eyes during sand storms.

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Ostriches eat various seeds. grasses, bushes and forage on trees. They supplement this diet with animal food such as invertebrates and small vertebrates which they chase by running.


Ostriches are polygamous. The male gathers around him a harem of three to five females, all of which lay their eggs in the same nest over a three week period. Thus, a clutch of about 25 eggs is laid in the nest which is nothing more than a shallow scrape, which has been made by the male. 

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Ostrich mating and egg laying will occur shortly before the onset of the rainy season, so that when the chicks hatch there will be plenty of food to sustain them until they are several months old.
The eggs are almost spherical in shape, about 6 inches long and equivalent in volume to about 20 hens' eggs. Such a clutch laid on open ground presents a significant meal to a jackal, the dominant predator. Only about half of the ostrich eggs that are laid hatch out.

The completed clutch is incubated by the male at night and the dominant female during the day. The reason for this is that at night the dark feathers of the male ostrich makes detection by predators more difficult. Likewise, during the day the female's lighter brown feathers blend in with the surrounding grassland colors. Shortly before the eggs hatch, the chicks will start calling from inside the shell, so the parents will know them by their calls once they are hatched. The young hatch after 45 days. The chicks run about within minutes of hatching.

The parents keep close watch over the chicks constantly. They will leading them to food (seeds and vegetation), water and they will provide shade for them. Even with the protection of the parents only about 1 chick in 10 will survive its first year of life. The chick becomes independent at the age of 1 year.
Ostriches begin breeding at the age of 4 and their lifespan is between 30 to 70 years.

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To what family do Ostrich belong ?
Ostriches are of the Ratite family, which means flightless bird.

What is the largest living bird in the world?
The Ostrich is the largest living bird in the world.

Where are Ostrich normally found?
The Ostrich is native to Africa, yet thrives in countries all over the world.

How big do Ostriches get?
Adult males are eight to nine feet in height and weigh 350-400 pounds. Females will weigh up to 300-350 pounds.

Are there special names for male and female Ostrich?
A male Ostrich is called a rooster or a cock and a female Ostrich is called a hen.

How do you tell males from females?
The male is black with white wing tips and tail plumes. The female has light brown and gray plumage and is slightly smaller than the male. When in season, the males will have bright red beaks, shins and sometimes neck. The hens will turn a silvery gray when in season.

Is there any thing that makes Ostriches unique from all other birds, besides not being able to fly?
This great bird only has two toes, all other birds have three or four toes.

How fast can Ostriches run?
The Ostrich can run at speeds of up to 40 MPH for sustained times.

How long does an Ostrich live?
An Ostrich will live to be 50 - 75 years old.


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