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Awesome Animals: The Ostrich

Updated on April 4, 2011

Ostrich (Struthio camelus)

  • Ostriches are the largest living bird in the world.
  • Ostriches are flightless, but can run at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.
  • Ostriches can live for up to 75 years, but the average life span is 50 years.
  • Ostriches are monogastric, meaning they only have one stomach compartment.
  • Ostriches mainly feed on seeds, roots and plant material, but are omnivores and will occasionally go for the small insect or lizard.
  • Like diving ducks, ostriches will swallow pebbles to assist the grinding of food in the gizzard.
  • Ostriches are nomadic, meaning they like to move from place to place.
  • Living in grassland and semi-desert areas, the ostrich can go for long periods of time without water and gets most of its required moisture from its food.
  • The ostrich spends 70 to 80 percent of its daylight hours feeding and digesting. Movement and the continuous ingestion of food are both essential components of their dietary physiology.
  • The color green stimulates the ostrich to peck.
  • Ostriches begin to breed between two and four years of age.
  • The average ostrich gestation length is 35-45 days.
  • The ostrich mating season begins in late March or early April and ends by September.
  • Ostriches live in grasslands and semi-desert areas.
  • In more urbanized areas and in captivity, ostriches sometimes suffer from Hardware Disease. Hardware Disease is caused by the ingestion of metal objects that interfere with digestion and can cause gastrointestinal trauma.
  • Ostriches have very strong, powerful legs with sharp claws. Ostriches in captivity are prone to kicking and scratching.
  • During the mating season male ostriches are especially aggressive, often fighting over a harem of three to five hens.
  • Ostriches like to live and travel in groups
  • Ostriches like the water and enjoy bathing.
  • Male ostriches can grow between eight and nine feet tall and can weigh up to 400 pounds (females tend to be smaller).
  • Ostriches are oviparous, meaning several females will lay their eggs in the same nest.
  • Both male and female ostriches share parental duties when caring for their young. Usually males will sit on the nest during the day then let the female take over at night.

Thanks for Reading! Literature Consulted:

Aganga, A. and J. Omphile. “Ostrich Feeding and Nutrition.” Pakistan Journal of Nutrition. Botswana College of Agriculture, Department of Animal Science and Production. 2.2 60-67. 2003. 4 October 2006 <>.

American Ostrich Association. Ed. MRC. 5 Feb 2006. 4 October 2006. <>.

Cooper, Ross and Khalid Mahroze. “Anatomy and Physiology of the Gastro-intestinal Tract and Growth Curves of the Ostrich.” Animal Science Journal. Vol 75 (2006) 491. December 2004. 4 October 2006 <>.

Donegan, Keenan. “Struthio camelis.” Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan. 2002. 4 October 2006 <>.

Honolulu Zoo. Ed. Honolulu Zoological Society. 2 October 2006. 4 October 2006 <>.

Samson, Judith. “Prevalent Diseases of Ostrich Chicks Farmed in Canada.” The Canadian

Veterinary Journal. 38.7 (2006):425-428. July 1997. 4 October 2006 <>.

San Diego Zoo. Ed. San Diego Zoological Society. 2006. 4 October 2006 <>.

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Animal Welfare Information Center. Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Welfare of Selected Birds (Quail, Pheasant, Dove, Finches, Ostrich, Parrot & Others). April 1994. 4 October 2006 <>.

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 30 Sep 2006, 19:48 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 4 Oct 2006 <>.


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    • profile image

      Bailey Crittenden 6 years ago

      I love ostriches they r so awesome!!!! PLease if you want to meet a famous ostrich go to facebook and type in "Carl" he is the most awsome ostrich ever!!!!! If you like him please tell your friends!

    • Cheri Bermudez profile image

      Cheri Bermudez 6 years ago from Maryland

      It seems like ostrich husbandry would be a fine science- they get quite angry and I can only imagine all the dodging one must do while caring for them! lol

    • Donna Suthard profile image

      Donna Suthard 6 years ago

      I noticed in Indiana that the Aumish in Odon, imported Ostrich! It was quite spectacular to see an Ostrich in the country as you drove past them on the roads! I often wondered how the Aumish keep from getting injured when their giving them water or food!

    • gclitty profile image

      gclitty 6 years ago

      I remember the scary ostrich. When I was little, on my grandfather's farm, they always used to chase me, and I would be scared to death!

    • lightning john profile image

      lightning john 6 years ago from Florida

      I found one lying in a creek once in the woods behind my house. It had been dead a couple of weeks, those things are huge! Lj

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 6 years ago from Texas

      I also believe they have genetic ties to dinosaurs also. Thank you for sharing.