SPECIES: Struthio camelus
IDENTIFICATION: The Ostrich is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs. The feathers of adult males are mostly black, with a bit of white and a white tail. Females and young males are a greyish-brown and white colour. The head and neck of both male and female Ostriches don’t have many feathers are have more of a thin layer of down. The skin of the female's neck and thighs are a pinkish grey colour, while the male's skin is more a blue or grey colour.
SHOULDER HEIGHT: 1,3m
HABITAT: Open semi-arid plains and woodlands.
MASS: 95 kg
NESTING: Territorial males usually have a “major hen” and several “minor hens”. Eggs from more than one female are often layed in the same nest, a mere scrape in the open plain. Ostriches stretch their necks along the ground at the nest to protect eggs or young. 1 Ostrich can lay approximately 30 eggs, the eggs take 42 days to hatch.
DIET: Eats grass-seed, grass and leaves. The Ostrich will also eat insects. They tend to eat stones in order to assist with the digestion of the food.
CHARACTERISTICS: The ostrich is the world’s largest living bird found in a range of habitats from bushveld to desert. It is flightless but has the ability to run at great speeds – personally timed at 57 km/h. The call of the male can be confused with the distant roar of a lion. The males have an elaborate mating display during courtship and the front of his legs and parts of his neck turn a reddish-pink colour. When threatened, the Ostrich will either hide itself by lying flat against the ground, or will run away. If cornered, it can attack with a kick from its powerful legs.