They have a small head with a straight beak and large eyelashes. They are birds, but their wings are poorly developed, they will not be able to fly. But you make up for it with strong legs. The shell of eggs was used by ancient Africans to carry water in them.
Also, people were not indifferent to their luxurious feathers. They cover almost the entire body of this bird. Males usually have black feathers, except for the wings and tail, they are white. Females are of a slightly different shade, gray-brown, their tail and wings are grayish-white.
Once, fans, fans were made from the feathers of this bird, women’s hats were decorated with them. Because of this, ostriches were on the brink of extinction 200 years ago until they were kept on farms.
Their eggs and the eggs of other birds are eaten, various products are made from the shell. It is also used in food and meat, it resembles beef, and the fat is added to cosmetics. Down and feathers are still used as decorations.
Fortunately, these friendly exotic birds are not uncommon now, 10 interesting facts about ostriches will help you get to know them better.
10. The largest bird in the world
The African ostrich is called the largest bird, because. he measures up to 2m 70cm and weighs 156kg. They live in Africa. Once they could be found in Asia. But, despite such a huge size, this bird has a small head, a small brain, no larger than a walnut in diameter.
The legs are their main wealth. They are suitable for running, because. have powerful muscles, with 2 fingers, one of which looks like a foot. They prefer open areas, avoid thickets, swamps and deserts with quicksand, because. they couldn’t run fast.
9. The name translates to “camel sparrow”
Word “ostrich” came to us from the German language, Strauss comes from Greek struthos Where “strufos”. It has been translated as “bird” Where “Sparrow”. The phrase “mega strufos“supposed”big birdand applied to ostriches.
Another Greek name for it is “strufocamelos”, which can be translated as “camel bird” Where “camel sparrow“. First this Greek word became Latin “structure”, then entered the German language, as “strauss”, and later it came to us, as familiar to everyone “ostrich”.
8. flock of birds
They live in small families. They usually have one adult male and four to five females of different ages.. But sometimes, in rare cases, there are up to fifty birds in a flock. It is not permanent, but everyone there is subject to a strict hierarchy. If this is a high-ranking ostrich, then its neck and tail are always vertical, weakened individuals prefer to keep their heads tilted.
Ostriches rub shoulders with groups of antelopes and zebras, if you have to cross the African plains, they prefer to stay close to them. Zebras and other animals are not against such a neighborhood. Ostriches warn them in advance of danger.
While foraging, they often examine the surroundings. They have excellent eyesight, they can see a moving object at a distance of 1 km. As soon as an ostrich notices a predator, it begins to run away, followed by other animals that do not differ in alertness.
7. Territory of residence – Africa
Ostriches have been domesticated for a long time, they are raised on farms, that is. These birds can be found all over the world. But wild ostriches live only in Africa.
Once they were found in Central Asia, the Middle East, Iran, India, that is, occupied larger areas. But due to the fact that they were constantly hunted, in other places they were simply exterminated, even many Middle Eastern species.
Ostriches can be found on almost the entire continent, with the exception of the Sahara Desert and the northern part of the continent. They feel especially good in reserves where it is forbidden to hunt birds.
6. Two types: African and Brazilian
For a long time, ostriches were considered not only African birds living on this continent, but also rheas. This so-called Brazilian ostrich resembles the African ostrich, now it belongs to the order of nandas.. Despite the similarity of the birds, there are significant differences between them.
First, they are much smaller: even the largest rhea reaches a maximum of 1.4 m. The ostrich has a bare neck, and the rhea is covered with feathers, the first has 2 fingers, the second has 3. The cry of the rhea is not like on a bird, resembles the roar of a predator, makes sounds reminiscent of “nan-du”, because of which it received such a name. They are found not only in Brazil, but also in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay.
Nandu also prefer to live in herds, where there are from 5 to 30 individuals. It includes males, chicks and females. They can form mixed herds with deer, vicunas, guanacos and, in rare cases, with cows and sheep.
5. Juveniles only eat meat and insects.
Ostriches are omnivores. They feed on grass, fruits, leaves. They prefer to collect food from the ground rather than tearing branches from trees. They also love insects, all small living creatures including turtles, lizards, i.e. anything that can be swallowed and grabbed.
They never crush prey, but swallow it. To survive, birds are forced to move from place to place in search of food. But they can live for several days without food or water.
If there are no nearby bodies of water, they also have enough liquid that they get from plants. However, they prefer to make their stops near bodies of water, where they gladly drink water and bathe.
To digest food, they need pebbles, which ostriches swallow with pleasure. Up to 1 kg of stones can accumulate in a bird’s stomach.
And young ostriches prefer to eat only insects or small animals, refusing plant food..
4. Have no close relatives among other creatures
A detachment of ratites are ostriches. It includes only one representative – the African ostrich. It can be said that ostriches do not have close relatives.
Keelless birds also include cassowaries, e.g. emu, kiwi – kiwi, rhea – rhea, tinamu – tinamu and several extinct orders. It can be said that these birds are distant relatives of ostriches.
3. Develop huge speed up to 100km/h
Legs are this bird’s only defense against enemies, because. at the sight of them, the ostriches flee. Already young ostriches can move at speeds up to 50 km / h, and adults move even faster – 60-70 km / h and more. They can maintain a running speed of up to 50 km/h for a long time.
2. While running, they move in huge leaps
Move through the area with stridesfor such a jump they can overcome from 3 to 5 m.
1. They don’t hide their heads in the sand
The thinker Pliny the Elder was sure that when they see a predator, ostriches hide their heads in the sand. He believed that then it seemed to these birds that they had completely hidden themselves. But it’s not.
Ostriches lower their heads to the ground when swallowing sand or gravel, sometimes they choose these hard pebbles from the earth, which they need for digestion.
A bird that has been hunted for a long time can lay its head on the sand, because. she doesn’t have the strength to lift it. When a female ostrich sits on a nest to await danger, she can fan out, tilting her neck and head to become invisible. If a predator approaches her, she will jump up and run away.