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8 Quick Facts on the Long-necked Ostrich

Editing Team


7 March, 2023


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Once you enter a zoo or a farm in almost any part of the world, is it hard to not notice the long necks, long legs and protruding round body of an ostrich. It might just be strolling around its place casually, but this huge bird is interesting in its own right! 

For one, they do not actually hide their heads on the ground when they sense danger. While this has been an ongoing trend in most kiddie shows with ostrich characters, this is not the real scenario. They just lie low, and because of the way their neck strectehs on the ground, it looks as if they’re hiding their heads.

If you’re interested in more facts about this huge bird, this list got you covered! 

One-of-a-kind Ostrich Facts For The Ones You Love

Courtesy of Magda Ehlers

While other birds are more rare to find than ostriches, this doesn’t make them any less special. You can have multiple chances to see them up front, so it’s better to have more knowledge about an ostrich every time you see one!

These eight fun facts will get you started! 

  1. Ostrich is the World’s Largest Bird

Courtesy of Mikhail Nilov

Growing up to nine feet tall with an average weight of 900 pounds or more than 400 kilograms, ostritches are definitely the largest birds in the entire world. 

Because of this weight, ostriches do not have the ability to fly no matter how short the distance may be. No wings are just strong enough to carry their bodies covered in feathers. Even with relatively smaller heads, add this bulky body to their long necks and longer legs, and flying is already next to impossible for these birds! 

Unlike other birds, ostriches also lack the proper bone structure for flying. A flat sternum – a bone near their chest – prevents them from using their wings for flying. 

  1. Ostriches Only Have Two Species

Courtesy of Charl Durand

Unlike other animals who have multiple species scattered around the world, ostriches only have two – the common ostrich and the Somali Ostrich. 

The bigger among the two is the common ostrich. They can be found in Northern Africa and can be distringuised through the absence of feathers in their neck and legs. What you can find is pinkish-red skin on these body parts. 

Meanwhile, the Somali ostrich has a bluish tint on its neck and thighs. This species of ostrich are commonly found across Ethiopia, Kenyam and Somalia. 

  1. Ostriches Run Fast

Courtesy of Antony Trivet

What they lack in flying, ostriches make up in running. Their average pace is at 30 mph, but they can increase this to up to 45 mph for short bursts of speed. 

This impressive speed comes as no surprise with ostriches’ long legs – their single stride can reach as far as 12 feet! And while their wings can’t lift them to fly, they can ostriches balance themselves when they run. 

  1. Ostriches’ Have Unique Body Parts

Courtesy of Magda Ehlers

Other than helping ostriches maintain their balance, their wings are also useful in providing shade for their little ones. These wings also help them show off when they want to woo another ostrich during their mating seasons. 

They might only have two toes on each foot, their toes might be clawed, their legs might look slim, but these limbs are strong enough to kill a lion! These predators better be in front of ostriches for a fair fight, because they can only kick in a forward motion. 

Ostritches’ unique body parts do not end on their external features. They are peculiar inside and out. They have very small brains but have excellent eyesight due to having the largest eyes among all land mammals. They also have three stomachs, they can’t have anything less because they have to digest all the plant matter they take in! 

If you’re interested in how ostriches are portrayed in television shows, check out Donald Duck – Donald’s Ostrich

  1. Pebbles Help Ostriches Grind Their Food

Courtesy of Magda Ehlers

While ostriches have three stomachs, they still need help grinding their food due to absence of teeth! Because they cannot chew their food, the pebbles they swallow help them in digestion. 

They need help in digesting a variety of food. As omnivores, ostriches eat grains, insects, and other small animals! 

In terms of water, they can survive for days without drinking, as their diet is usually full of food rich in moisture!

  1. Herds of Ostriches Only Have 10 Birds

Courtesy of Pixabay

Small flocks of ostriches called herds are often led by an alpha male and females who are usually black and white and light brown respecitvely. They protect and keep together an average of ten birds, but this number can expand to ten times its usual size under special circumstances! 

  1. Ostrich Eggs Weigh As Much As Two Dozen Chicken Eggs

Courtesy of Magda Ehlers

Given how huge an ostrich is, it comes as no surprise that their eggs are actually the biggest among any other bird. One ostrich egg can weigh as much as 5 pounds – that’s the weight of a dozen chicken eggs!

Naturally, a newborn ostrich will also be bigger than newly-hatched chicks. Ostrich newborns can even be as big as an adult chicken! As long as they are cared for by both father and mother ostriches, these babies will reach their full length at six months old. 

  1. Ostriches Often Travel

Courtesy of Guyo Adhi

While ostriches usually live in savannas and deserts, they still spend a lot of time migrating and travelling around the world. Sometimes, they prefer to do this with their friend zebras and antelopes. 

In their 30 to 40 years of living, ostriches travel multiple times to look for nutrients in open areas with little to no trees. This allows them to have more visibility over their habitat. 

Tables turn during their breeding season! Instead of travelling around male ostriches stay in one place and make their nest in the ground. They show off their dance moves – dropping, wings and tail shaking, and head and neck swaying – to attract female ostriches! 

Frequently Asked Questions on Ostriches

Can you ride an ostrich?

There are places in Africa where ostrich racing is considered a sport, but apart from this, it is not recommended to ride an ostrich! In other parts of the world, most zoos and farms do not allow riding ostriches for these big birds’ comfort and safety. 

How many eggs does an ostrich lay yearly?

Ostriches in the farm and in the wild vary in the amount of eggs they lay. Female ostriches in the wild can lay 12 to 18 eggs, while those in farms can produce 20 eggs. This might get even bigger as they are fed and treated to lay more eggs. 

Can ostrich eggs be eaten?

Their size can undoubtedly intimidate you, but like other bird eggs, ostrich eggs can actually be eaten! They are good sources of protein and vitamins A and E. However, it is not recommended to finish a whole egg in one sitting – because that will already be equivalent to two dozen eggs! 

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