ANIMAL: Common Ostrich Struthio camelus Type of Animal: Ratite Habitat: Savanna, grassland, semi-desert, desert, plains, woodlands, scrub Location(s): East & Southern Africa, Sahara, Sahel, most of Africa’s arid & semi-arid areas Appearance: Males are black with some white feathers on side, females brownish-grayish & much drabber than males. Food/Diet: Grasses, shrubs, seeds, roots, leaves, flowers. Also locusts, grasshoppers, mice, & lizards. Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding on farms, ranches, zoos, & wildlife parks. Farmed for meat and eggs. Lifestyle: Harem flocks comprise of a male, 5-7 hens & their chicks. Other males live in bachelor flocks of 8-20 birds. Flocks sometimes come together forming groups of up to 50 birds. Additional Info: Called: Male-Cock Female-Hen Young-Chick Group-Flock Weight: Male-220-287 lbs Female-198-242 lbs Young-10-30 lbs Gestation: 6 weeks Height: Male-6.9-9 ft Female-5.7-6.2 ft Body Length: Male-13.8-14 ft Female-11.4-12.4 ft Life Span: 30-50 years, up to 70 years in captivity Tail Length: 1.4 ft Main predators of adults are lions, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs, & crocodiles. Brown & Striped Hyenas, jackals, pythons, caracals, servals, vultures, & large eagles prey on chicks only. Banded Mongooses only eat eggs. Largest birds in world. Ostriches can injure predators with a kick from their 4-inch claws. Ostrich clutch size 4-78 per nest, sometimes more. Known to eat sand & small rocks to digest food. Ostrich farms are well-known in the U.S, Australia, & South Africa. Can often be seen w/ grazing mammals. Fun Fact(s): Largest eye of any land animal, measuring 1.9 in across. They can run 60 mph, making them fastest bird on land & fastest 2-legged animal in world. Unlike all other birds, urine secreted separately from feces. Ostrich racing very popular in Middle East & Africa. Contrary to popular belief, ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand. Ostrich kick can disembowel a human. Especially watch out for ostriches guarding nests/chicks. Many male ostriches plain nasty all year-round. Besides being largest birds, they also lay largest eggs of any bird, measuring 3 lbs, 5.1 inches wide, & 5.9 inches long. Interestingly, smallest eggs relative to size of adult bird.
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