Bird Families

African ostrich (lat


The ostrich is a unique bird. It has impressive traits that will increase your admiration for this bird. It is currently the largest bird on the planet, but does not fly. It has legs so strong that it can compete with the fastest four-legged animals. Read on to find out more.

Ostriches are very specific animals with some characteristics that make them different from the rest.

1. The ostrich is the third fastest land animal in the world and the fastest animal with two legs. It can maintain a speed of over 70 km / h for about 30 minutes.

2. The scientific name for the ostrich is Struthio camelus, which means "camel sparrow" or "big sparrow like a camel."

3. The ostrich is the largest bird that exists. It can reach 3 meters in height and weigh about 180 kilograms. It doesn't fly. Its wings serve as protection and help the animal balance as it runs.

4. There is only one type of ostrich. Currently, ostriches live in the desert regions and steppes of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Since it is very resilient and adaptable to different climates, it has been brought to various parts of the world.

5. The ostrich loves warmth. It can withstand very high temperatures around 55 degrees Celsius.

6. Favorite food is a beetle, which has the color of metal. Therefore, whatever shines attracts his attention, and he may mistakenly eat nails, watches and other objects.

7. The ostrich also swallows sand and pebbles.

8. The ostrich is giant, but has a very small head. So much so that the bird's eyes are larger than its brain.

9. The legs have two toes, only one of them has a nail. This helps the ostrich to have better support during stride.

10. Legs are muscular and give strong blows to enemies. His blow can even break a human bone. The force of his blow can kill a large animal.

11. Ostriches live in herds, each herd includes a dominant male and up to 7 females. The dominant male's role is to protect the herd. They also have a dominant female.

12 ... All females in the herd lay eggs in the nest of the dominant female, who will be responsible for their protection. A communal nest can hold up to 60 eggs.

13. The male helps to incubate eggs at night, lying on them, with his black plumage, he can go unnoticed. During the day, females warm their eggs and remain unremarkable due to their brownish plumage.

14. Ostrich eggs are the largest of all birds. They are up to 20 cm in size and weigh 1 to 2 kg each, the equivalent of about twenty-four chicken eggs.

15. Incubation of laid eggs lasts 42 days, as a rule, more than 60% are born. When young are born, they are about 30 centimeters tall and weigh about 850 grams. In 1 year they grow into an adult ostrich.

16. You must have seen in cartoons that the ostrich buries its head when it is afraid. But this is just a myth and only happens in cartoons, in fact, this bird lowers its head to comb the ground and catch whatever it finds interesting with its beak.

17. An ostrich can stay up to 8 days without drinking a single drop of water.

18. The bird is an excellent runner: an average of 70 km / h in short distances and 50 km / h in close races. Ostrich races are common in the USA and England.

19. The life of an ostrich is about 40 or 45 years.

20. Ostriches are grown commercially in no less than 50 countries around the world. From the cold lands of Alaska to the equatorial regions of Central Africa:

• ostrich eyelashes are very valuable for making brushes, but they are also used to create false eyelashes,

• leather is used to make wallets, bags, gloves, etc.,

• ostrich eggshells and feathers are used for decoration in homes,

• their meat is edible and healthy because it is low in fat.

21. The ostrich is not considered a critically endangered bird. Because there are about 2 million of these birds in the world.

The ostrich, as we can see, is a special animal. I hope the information was interesting to you.


The body of an African ostrich is shaped like an oval. The plumage evenly covers the body, avoiding gaps. In terms of tactile sensations, the feather looks like down, very soft, curly, not fastened to each other, like other birds. The head, part of the legs to the middle and the long neck are covered with a short, barely noticeable downy.

There is a small unfeathered area on the chest, on which the bird rests, lying on the ground. This is called "pectoralis". The length of the neck allows you to instantly notice the impending danger and feed on the leaves that grow high.

Ostriches have the largest eyes among birds. Thick and very long eyelashes are not at all for beauty, they perform a protective function - they hide from sand, dust, and dirt. Muscular, strong legs are the pride of this large bird.

They were created by nature for fast running. The ostrich seems to have two toes on its paws, one of which is supporting, armed with a claw, resembling a foot. The second one is smaller, performs the function of maintaining balance and traction with the ground while running.

The ratites cannot fly because of their enormous weight, lack of keel, hollow bones and unadapted plumage. Despite this, their wings are developed, but nature has assigned them a different role - to attract females during the mating season.

Place and habitat

The range of the African ostrich covers almost all of Africa, except for its northern part and the Sahara desert.

These are birds that feed on vegetation and run fast, therefore they are found in grassy areas and plains, behind equatorial forests. Wetlands, thickets and quicksand pose a direct threat to their lives.

Ostrich lifestyle

These birds often keep in groups, sometimes create whole families, the number of individuals in which can reach 50. They lead a calm, sedentary lifestyle. The ostrich is a stupid bird, but oddly enough, strictness and complete hierarchy reign in their flocks.


Although it is generally accepted that ostriches eat exclusively plant foods, this fact is inaccurate. Together with the grass cover, foliage and small fruits, they gladly feast on small reptiles (turtles, lizards), as well as birds and even snakes. His food can be systematized into the following list:

  • insects,
  • seeds,
  • carrion,
  • rodents,
  • reptiles,
  • fruit,
  • flowers.

The African ostrich has no teeth. In an adult, there can be up to 1 kg of pebbles in the stomach, which then help to grind large swallowed food. Interestingly, the young eat predominantly animal food.


This bird species is polygamous. The breeding season for individuals living in areas of high humidity lasts 4 months, and for those who live in dry regions - the whole year. Males have a special mating dance: it kneels down, beats with a wing in a certain rhythm, throws its head back far back.

Many females gather around the male, but only one of them occupies a leading position and is with him during the entire nesting period. Moreover, from the beginning of this period, only the male does absolutely everything. He digs a hole in the soil, 30-60 cm deep, and females lay eggs in it. Further, while he heats the first clutch with his body, the rest is put on him.

Incubation lasts 1, 5 months, at this time only the main female is allowed to approach the incubation site. The ostrich egg is considered the largest among bird eggs and the smallest when you take into account the size of the bird itself.

The shell is incredibly thick, it can easily withstand if an adult man sits on top. This causes discomfort to the chicks, who punch it for several hours to hatch. During the day, the male leaves the nest unattended to warm it up with the sun's rays, and at night he vigilantly watches the clutch.

It is the night that is the most vulnerable time, because the main enemies of the ostrich go hunting - vultures, hyenas and jackals.

Ostrich cubs are born completely independent. They have excellent eyesight, strengthened paws. Approximate weight approx. 2 kg. A couple of days after hatching, they, together with the male, get their own food. Their growth is rapid, because by 4 months of life they weigh almost 20 kg. The very first feeding of chicks is flies, which flock to the smell of rotten egg contents. The ostrich breaks these eggs with its paws after incubation.

Life span

This factor directly depends on living conditions. In the wild, on average, they live for about 30 to 40 years.

Some interesting facts about the life of African ostriches

- In these birds, the exit of feces and urine is carried out separately, since this is the only bird of its kind that has a bladder.

- These representatives of the fauna tend to be overweight. The fact is that ostriches are carnivorous, and their unlimited appetite for protein food (locusts) leads to weight gain.

- They can drink salty sea water or replace it altogether by eating roots.

- The ostrich hides its head in the sand not from fear, but to rest from running or eating sand (it cleans the stomach and improves metabolism).

- Sand is a great way to clean feathers and get rid of parasites.

- Ostriches have an unwritten law: to guard each other's sleep, which lasts about 15 minutes a day.

- The eggs, which the female will lay first, are covered by the male with sand.

- When the male digs the nest, he constantly checks it for debris throughout the night.

- No matter how good the males seem, they periodically run away from the responsibility of incubating eggs. He is replaced by another lonely male and is serving his due date.

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Kingfisher bird (Lat.Acedo atthis)

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  • Class,
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  • Detachment,

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Who is the ostrich here?

Throughout the history of our planet, the order of ostrich-like species included about 14 species. Most of them became extinct three to six million years ago. Until now, only one species of these amazing creatures has survived - African.

There are several subspecies that belong to African ostriches. Nanda and emu, by the way, are not considered as such. They are not ostriches at all. Although they are often confused due to their large size, elongated neck, inability to fly, and other similar signs.

However, even scientists until the 1980s called the emu the Australian ostrich. After a more detailed study, the birds were classified as cassowary, and the rhea were assigned to a separate order of rhea-like.

The African ostrich includes the North African, Masai, Southern and Somali subspecies. They differ from each other mainly in skin tone, size, and habitat, which can already be traced in their names.

Description of the African ostrich

Ostriches are large birds with a long neck and massive body. They have a small head with a flat and wide beak. It is soft and has a small horny outgrowth on the beak. The eyes of the African ostrich are large, with long eyelashes.

Their neck, head and legs are practically naked, covered with fine, sparse downy hairs. The skin comes in a variety of colors - from gray to pinkish (Masai subspecies) or bluish (Somali subspecies). The feathers on the body are thick and soft, they curl and are very fluffy. The males are black with a white border on the wings and tail. Females are more inconspicuous, their color is gray-brown.

Ostriches don't fly. They move thanks to their powerful and strong legs. The hind limbs are equipped with highly developed muscles and allow their owners not only to run and walk quickly, but also to defend themselves from enemies. The kick of an African ostrich's leg is stronger than that of a horse.

They have excellent eyesight, but the brain of birds is much less developed. In relation to the body of an animal, it is very small, which always indicates the limitations of its abilities. On average, this organ weighs 45-50 grams.

Features and differences from other birds

Despite the fact that the African ostrich belongs to the class of birds, it is very different from them. He is completely incapable of flying. Even if he tried, he would hardly succeed. Ostriches lack a keel - a special bony outgrowth responsible for raising and lowering the wings in flight. In place of this, they have formed a very dense area of ​​skin, on which the bird rests, lying on the ground.

The wings of the animal are underdeveloped and reach only 2 meters in swing. For a bird of this size, this is not enough, they simply cannot lift it into the air. The wings are used to maintain balance while running, to attract a partner during mating season, and to scare off enemies.

The African ostrich has only two toes on each foot, while other birds have four. One toe is longer than the other and ends in a hoof-like horny growth. It serves as a support while running.

Closed basin of ostriches. His pubic bones are fused together. The excretory system consists of the anal and urogenital opening. All flying birds have only one hole, they simply do not have a bladder.

Interesting Facts

  • In the Greek (στρουθίο-κάμηλος) and Latin (Struthio camelus) languages, the ostrich is called a "camel-sparrow" or "camel-bird". There are several reasons for this comparison. The first is a bird living in a hot climate and the ability to live long without water. The second is their forked foot. And perhaps the very outline of the ostrich reminded scientists of a camel.
  • Of all the birds, the African ostrich has the largest eggs. The diameter of each can reach 20 centimeters, and the weight is two kilograms. At the same time, they are considered the smallest when compared with the size of adult birds.
  • Ostriches also hit other size records. They are the tallest and heaviest members of the bird class, and also have the largest eyes. The highest is the North African subspecies: animals grow up to 2.75 meters. They weigh within 60 kilograms.
  • There is a legend that in times of danger they hide their heads in the sand. It is a myth. Sensing trouble, the animal tries to leave or run away. With all its might, ostriches will fight back only when there is nowhere to go. However, during the incubation period, they become very aggressive and rush at anyone they consider a threat.
  • Ostriches are great runners. The maximum speed that an animal can develop is 70 kilometers per hour. At the same time, at full speed, he perfectly manages to turn and change the direction of travel.
  • The inability to fly is a reacquired trait. The ancestors of African ostriches, just like kiwis, cassowaries and rhea, were able to fly. Only over time did they lose this ability.


In the distant past, ostriches lived in Africa, Georgia, China, Mongolia, Moldova, Ukraine and on the territory of Transbaikalia. Now they can be found only on the territory of the African continent. Animals inhabit semi-desert areas and savannahs.They cannot be found in swampy and densely grassy areas, since in such an area it is difficult to escape from predators.

In the eastern part, within Somalia and Kenya, Somali ostriches live. Their skin is bluish, and the females' plumage is richer than that of other subspecies. Based on genetic data, they are often identified as a separate species of bird.

In the southern parts of Somalia and Kenya, you can see another subspecies - Masai. He also lives in Tanzania and Ethiopia. The common, or North African ostrich, inhabits Cameroon, Senegal, CAR and Chad. Southern ostriches live in the southwestern regions of the continent, mainly in Namibia, Zambia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana.


African ostriches live in harems of 5-6 individuals. Outside the breeding season, they gather in numerous herds - up to 100 individuals. The male and the dominant female are always at the head. They are responsible for the movement of the group and its safety.

Ostriches are diurnal animals, but they rest during hot hours. Bird activity begins in the afternoon. They sleep at night, but they can stay awake during full moon periods. They are much lighter than other animals capable of withstanding heat. To do this, their body temperature rises by several degrees, reducing the difference with the environment.

They drink a lot, but if there is no water, they calmly do without it for a long time. They are able to survive after losing even 25% of their weight as a result of dehydration. Birds feed mainly on plant foods: seeds, leaves and flowers of plants. Small animals and insects are eaten occasionally.

Economic value

People have always been partial to these birds. Almost everything is appreciated in them: feathers, meat, skin, fat, eggs. Bird feathers were especially popular in Europe. They were used to decorate ladies' hats, to make fans and fans out of them.

Bird eggs have a very strong 2 mm shell, so they are well suited for crafts. Previously, they were used to make cups and bowls. A separate place was and is occupied by various crafts from them. The eggs are painted or carved with special tools.

The skin of ostriches is water-resistant, soft and stretches well, at the same time it is durable and lasts up to 30 years. Belts and bags are sewn from it, car interiors are decorated with it, jackets, shoes and other clothes are made.

In addition, birds have nutritional value. Their eggs are much superior in quality to chicken eggs, as they contain more useful amino acids, lysine and threonine. Poultry meat is considered dietary. It contains few calories, but has vitamins of group B, E, PP, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and other substances.

Ostrich farms

The high demand for these birds greatly reduced their numbers by the beginning of the 19th century. So that they do not disappear altogether (and, of course, to earn some money), they began to open special farms for breeding African ostriches. The first appeared in 1838 in South Africa.

Farms now exist in about a hundred countries around the world. In the CIS countries, business began to gain momentum only in recent decades. Despite the fact that this bird is southern and lives in hot desert areas, it tolerates cold weather well. In Russia, for example, there are farms in Tyumen, Novosibirsk, Leningrad, Tver, Sverdlovsk regions.

The price of an African ostrich depends on the sex and age of the animal. Young ostriches up to one month old cost from $ 150-200. An ostrich family can cost from 4-5 thousand dollars. A kilogram of poultry meat will cost 250 rubles, and an egg costs an average of 800 rubles.

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Ostrich - description, structure, characteristics, photo. What does an ostrich look like?

The African ostrich is a unique bird that cannot fly, does not have a keel and has only two toes, which is also an exception in the class of birds.

As the largest birds on the planet, the large African ostrich boasts a height of 2.7 meters and an impressive weight of up to 156 kg. However, the average weight of an ostrich is about 50 kg, and the males are somewhat larger than the females.

The skeleton of an ostrich is not pneumatic, except for the femur. The ends of the pubic bones have grown together and formed a closed pelvis, which is also uncharacteristic for other birds.

Photo Credit: Museum of Veterinary Anatomy FMVZ USP / Wagner Souza e Silva

African ostriches are distinguished by a dense build, a very elongated neck and a small flattened head ending in an even, wide, flat beak, on which a soft growth of horny tissue is located. The ostrich has large eyes, and the upper eyelid is dotted with long, fluffy eyelashes.

Photo by: Vvlasenko

Photo Credit: Donarreiskoffer

The outgrowth of the sternum, or keel, characteristic of representatives of the class of birds, is completely absent in ostriches, and the sternum itself is poorly developed. On its surface is a bare area of ​​thick skin - a special pectoral callus that acts as a support when the bird lies on the ground.

Photo Credit: Diego Delso

The forelimbs of the bird are represented by underdeveloped wings, on each of them there are two fingers, ending in sharp claws. The hind legs of the ostrich are long, strong and muscular, with two toes, and only one of them has a peculiar hoof at the end, which serves as a support during running.

Photo Credit: Yathin S Krishnappa

Photo by: Skampetskiy

The plumage of the ostrich is loose and curly, relatively evenly distributed over the surface of the body. There are no feathers on the head, neck and legs: they are covered with soft, short down.

Ostrich feathers are distinguished by a primitive structure: their beards practically do not adhere to each other and do not form fans. Birds have very beautiful feathers and there are a lot of them: 16 primary feathers of the first order and from 20 to 23 of the second order, tail feathers can be from 50 to 60.

Photo by: Essdras M Suarez / EMS Photography

Photo Credit: Bob-Nan

It is very easy to distinguish a male from a female ostrich. The plumage of adult males is black, and only the tail and wings are white. Females are rather inconspicuous: their feathers are distinguished by a patronizing grayish-brown color, and their wings and tail feathers look dirty-white.

Photo by: Vladimír Motyčka


The peculiarities of the bird's structure and the lack of the possibility of flying, which is compensated by a very fast run, force ostriches to choose plain territories overgrown with grass (savanna) for life and much less often - open woodland, which, as a rule, borders on savanna.

Ostriches breed on the plains of the savannah, where there is always enough food for parents and chicks. A healthy bird in such conditions is practically inaccessible for predators, since, noticing them from afar, the ostriches very quickly move to a safe place, leaving the pursuer no chance to catch up with them.

In the savannah, the ostrich lives in flocks, in which there are up to 50 individuals.

Most often, ostriches graze around herds of antelopes and zebras, as this provides them with additional protection. In such a situation, sneaking predators are noticed more quickly, and they also prefer an antelope faster than a bird, which is almost impossible to catch.

It is quite comfortable for a person to live where ostriches live, and therefore it is not uncommon for local tribes, in addition to ungulates, to hunt birds, which provide a large amount of high-quality meat. Because of the attractive feathers, for a long time in nature, ostriches were exterminated by people. Feathered giants are not considered an endangered species in Africa today.

Where do ostriches live

Where ostriches live - their homeland Africa... The African ostrich prefers to settle on open grassy plains or semi-desert, which are mainly located in the north and south of the Equator's forests. Ostriches live in families that consist of one adult male, four or five females and offspring. The size of the family can reach and 20-30 birds.

And if we talk about young individuals in the south, then they sometimes live in groups of a hundred birds.

Ostriches often coexist on pastures with herds of zebras or antelopes. These species of animals treat each other normally and roam the territories together. Since ostriches are tall and have very good eyesight, they can see predators threatening the herd from afar. When a bird sees a threat, it begins to flee quickly, the speed of the ostrich often reaches 60–70 kilometers per hour.

Other animals, seeing such a reaction, also often manage to escape from predators, but their speed is usually incomparable with these birds. And also an ostrich can abruptly change the direction of its run, without reducing its speed. Chicks run at a speed of 50 kilometers per hour, almost not inferior in speed to adult birds.


The desert is not the most livable place for feathered giants. They do not occur in the Sahara at all. However, birds enter the territory of semi-deserts in order to incubate their eggs, as well as after rains, when enough fresh greenery and insects, as well as various lizards, appear in this area. The soil of the semi-desert is quite hard, and the bird can move well on it, gaining very high speed.

On other continents, ostriches live in semi-desert or desert conditions only if ostrich farms are arranged there, which, due to the good adaptation of birds to the heat in southern countries, are especially profitable.

Because of these farms, the answer to the question of where ostriches live can cause some confusion - there will be too many places. In natural nature, ostriches live only in Africa.

The habitat of the ostrich is the African plains, where in terms of speed the birds are second only to certain species of antelopes and cheetahs. In the same, what distances birds can cover on the run, without stopping, they have no equal.

Breeding African ostriches

Breeding African ostriches happens in two ways:

  1. The female lays eggs and breeds offspring. Eggs, young animals, as well as adult offspring are allowed for sale.
  2. Acquisition of young stock for fattening and subsequent sale of adult offspring for slaughter.

Breeding of an ostrich is carried out in order to obtain: meat, skin, egg products, including shells, feathers and claws. It is necessary to breed an ostrich in mild climate zones.

In the summer, you need to keep them in paddocks equipped with walks, and in winter in warm rooms with no drafts. A prerequisite for keeping should be bedding in the form of hay, straw or sawdust.

Walking areas should have trees growing nearby, where ostriches can hide from the scorching sun. It is very important to observe sanitary and hygienic conditions when breeding an ostrich. To find out the price of an African ostrich consider the price list of prices of one of the poultry organizations:

  • chick, one day old - 7 thousand rubles,
  • chick, up to 1 month old - 10 thousand rubles,
  • ostrich, 2 months old - 12 thousand rubles,
  • ostrich, 6 months old - 18 thousand rubles,
  • ostriches 10 - 12 months - 25 thousand rubles,
  • ostrich, 2 years old - 45 thousand rubles,
  • ostrich, 3 years old - 60 thousand rubles,
  • family from 4 to 5 years old - 200 thousand rubles.