Thursday, March 10, 2011


True Wild Life | Ostrich | The ostrich is the biggest bird in the world with a male ostrich often growing more than 2 metres tall. The ostrich is also the world's fastest bird on the ground being able to run at speeds of up to 50 mph for short periods of time. Despite the fact that the ostrich is a bird, the ostrich cannot fly and instead will run away when threatened. The ostrich weighs more than 100kg which is the main reason as to why the ostrich is unable to fly. The ostrich will also lay flat on the ground to hide from predators.

The ostrich mainly eats grubs and insects, often found in the ground. The ostrich is well known for putting it's head into the ground to get the bugs in the soil. The ostrich also has a kick so powerful that it can be fatal to most mammals. The ostrich is found natively in Africa (and also used to be found in the Middle East) but the ostrich is farmed for it's meat, skin and feathers all around the world.

The ostrich lays the biggest eggs of any bird species with an ostrich egg generally being more than 10 times bigger than the average chicken egg. Due to its sheer size, the egg of the ostrich is considered a cuisine delicacy in many human cultures. There are five different species of ostrich that are generally found around central and eastern Africa. The different species of ostrich are all very similar but vary in size and colour depending on the species of ostrich. The ostrich is most closely related to the Australian emu and the New Zealand kiwi.

The ostrich is an omnivore and therefore eats a variety of both plants and animals. The diet of the ostrich mainly consists of leaves, grass, seeds, roots, flowers and berries along with insects and occasionally small mammals and reptiles. Due to the sheer size and immense power of the ostrich, the ostrich has few natural predators in it's environment. The main predators of the ostrich are lions and cheetahs, and also hyenas and crocodiles if they are able to catch one. Humans are one of the main predators of the ostrich as they hunt the ostrich for it's meat and feathers.

Ostriches live in herds that usually include the dominant male, his hens (female ostriches) and their young offspring (ostrich babies). During the mating season, the alpha male will make a communial nest around 3 meters wide in the ground for the his female ostriches to lay their eggs in. There are often more than 20 eggs in the nest but it is rare that more than a couple of these eggs actually hatch as they are preyed upon by predators like jackals and hyenas. After an incubation period of around 6 weeks, the ostrich chicks hatch out of their eggs. It is the alpha male ostrich that defends the ostrich chicks from danger and teaches them to feed.

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