The Ostrich is built for running. It’s feet only has two toes for greater speed.
Ostriches DO NOT bury their heads in the sand! The old saying probably originates with one of the bird’s defensive behaviors. When an ostrich senses danger and cannot run away it flops to the ground and remains still. Its head and neck is flat on the ground in front of it. The head and neck are lightly colored and blend in with the color of the soil. From a distance it just looks like the ostrich has buried its head in the sand and only the body is visible.
The Ostrich cannot fly, but strong runners. They can run up to 43 miles an hour. They may use their wings as “rudders” to help them change direction while running. Ostriches hold their wings out to help them balance when they run, especially if they suddenly change direction.
Ostriches are farmed for their meat, leather and feathers.
The ostrich has powerful, long legs can cover 10 to 16 feet in a single stride. These legs can also be used for weapons. An Ostrich kick can kill a human or a potential predator. Each two-toed foot has a long, sharp claw.
Ostriches live in small herds that typically contain less than a dozen birds. Males maintain these herds and mate with the group’s dominant hen. The male sometimes mates with others in the heard, and some males may also mate with lesser hens. All of the group’s hens place their eggs in the dominant hen’s nest—though her own are given the prominent place. The dominant hen and male take turns incubating the giant eggs.
The ostriches at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are fed a special bird pellet diet containing vitamins and minerals. Along with vegetables like carrots and broccoli.
The ostrich lays the biggest egg in the world. One egg is equivalent in volume to tow dozen chicken eggs. The nest is a shallow hole in the ground.
Ostriches typically eat plants, fruit, roots, and seeds but will also eat insects or lizards.
The bird is native to the dry lands of Africa and well adapted to desert like.
During courtship the male uses his dramatic coloring to attract the light brown female. He sinks slowly to the ground, almost like he’s bowing, and begins to wave and shake the feathers of first one wing and then the other while moving his tail up and down. He then gets up and moves toward the female, holding his wings out and stamping as he goes to impress her. If she approves, she will mate with him.