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Ostrich

female ostrich
Female Ostrich (Struthio camelus) is brown

The ostrich is the largest bird in the world. The ostrich is taller than almost all human beings. Adult ostriches stand 7 to more than 9 feet (2.1-2.8 m) tall.

The ostrich is not only tall but also heavy. Ostriches are so heavy they are unable to fly. An adult ostrich can weigh up to 350 pounds (160 kg). The wings of an ostrich are small and only loosely covered with soft, fluffy feathers instead of stiff flight feathers.

Even though ostriches can not fly, they are very fast and strong. Ostriches can run at speeds of 35 to 45 miles per house (70 kph) for as long as 30 minutes. An ostrich can run faster than a thoroughbred racehorse. The legs of an ostrich are longer and larger than those of any other bird. Each stride covers about 11.5 feet (3.5 m). The cheetah is one of the few animals that can outrun an ostrich.

Besides being very fast, ostriches have other defenses against predators. First, they have long necks giving them a good view of approaching danger; their ability to see long distances is second only to giraffes. Second, they have massive legs with huge, clawed feet that can rip into a predator. Even though ostriches can fight, when danger approaches they often lie flat and stretch out their necks in front of them to blend into the landscape. An ostrich’s hump-backed body looks like a boulder or clump of earth.

The male ostrich is black and white

An ostrich egg is the largest of any bird. It has the volume of 24 hen’s eggs. The ostrich egg is so strong an adult human could stand on it without breaking it. Each egg is up to 8 inches (20 cm) long and weighs up to 4 pounds (1.8 kg). Ostriches make their nest in hollowed out ground. Several females often lay eggs in a single nest, producing a clutch of up to 30 eggs. Both males and females sit on the nest until the eggs hatch in about 40 days.

Ostriches roam the open grassland and desert of tropical Africa. They can be found from west to east Africa south of the Sahara desert and also in southern Africa. Male ostriches are black and white; females are brown. The average lifespan of an ostrich is 50 to 75 years.

The scientific name of the ostrich is Struthio camelus.

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