We’re highlighting some fun facts about the largest bird in the world today, the ostrich!
1. Standing nine feet tall when full grown and weighing in at 350 pounds, ostriches are far and away the largest birds in the world. The second largest bird, the emu, is only (only!) six feet tall, not even in the same ballpark as the ostrich.
2. Before humans became a threat, ostriches used to be able to be found in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Now they can only be found in Africa.
3. Ostriches can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour and while running, can have a stride length of up to 15 feet.
4. Throughout most of the year, ostriches are solitary or travel with one other ostrich for company. During mating season, or when there is severe drought, ostriches form small herds of five to 50 birds, which are led by a leader hen.
5. Ostriches don’t have teeth and instead swallow small stones to help break up their food.
6. The diet of an ostrich is omnivorous, but the majority of their diet is herbivorous. They eat roots, leaves, seeds, and flowers. They will also eat insects and small mammals and lizards. When travelling with grazers, like wildebeest, the movement of the larger animals churns up the ground to unearth food for the ostriches, and the ostriches in turn serve as a predator lookout for the grazers.
7. Both the mother and father takes turns sitting on their nest. The males do so at night, because their black feathers keep them hidden in the dark. The females so do during the day, because their feathers blend into the sandy desert ground.
8. Ostrich eggs are six inches in diameter. They can weigh as much as three pounds. A single nest can hold as many as 60 eggs at once! With eggs this big, it’s no surprise that ostrich chicks, after first hatching, are often already as big as a chicken.
9. In the wild, ostriches often live to 30 or 40 years old, but in captivity, they usually live to about 70 years of age.
10. Ostriches face a few predators, such as hyenas and lions. However, they have powerful legs for defense and a single kick has been known to kill a lion trying to hunt the ostrich.
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