It’s scientifically known as Struthio camelus. It’s the only living species of the family Struthionidae. The look of the bird is extremely different and it is characterized by presence of long legs and neck. The legs are adapted for running swiftly with a rate of about 70 km/h which is the top speed embraced by any soil dwelling bird. It is the biggest bird alive today and lays the largest sized egg. It feed on plant material in addition to on insects. It resides in nomadic groups which might contain 5-50 individuals. When threatened it lays flat on the ground or runs away. When molested it kicks the foe with the powerful legs. The male makes a territory and frequently struggles to get a harem of 5-7 females. They’re farmed throughout the world because of their feathers which are used for decorative purposes and for the preparation of their feather dusters. The skin is used for leather and the meat is marketed commercially.
The feathers of adult males are black with white primaries and a white tail. The tail of one subspecies is buff coloured. Females and young males are grayish-white and brownish colored. The eyes will also be the largest one of all the land vertebrates measuring 50 mm in diameter and this is the reason they can determine the predators from a great distance. Eyes are well protected from the sunlight. Colour of skin also changes among the subspecies. The tarsometatarsus of male has red horny plates while the female has black plates. Legs lack feathers while the tarsometatarsus is covered with scales. There are two toes on each foot and the larger one bears a nail and the inner fur looks like the hoof. The outer fur lacks nail. The reduction in the number of toes is an adaptation for swift running. Ostriches can run continuously for 30 minutes with a rate of 72.4 km/h. The wing length is of about two meters and can be used during courtship display and in protecting the girls. Feathers lack tiny hooks that lock the external feathers in the flying birds and so are soft and fluffy and act as insulators. They’ve 50-60 tail feathers.
The sternum in these birds is flat and lacks keel which is used for attaching the flight muscles at the flying birds. The beak is flat, broad and with a round tip. Like all ratites they lack crop and gallbladder. They have three stomachs and the caecum is 71 cm long. Ostriches are known to store the stool in the terminal rectum. They’re supplied with unique pubic bones that provide support to the gut. Males are provided with a copulatory organ that’s approximately 8 inches long. The plate differs from other birds since the sphenoid and the palatal are not connected with one another. At sexual maturity the men reach a height of 1.8-2.8 meters while the females are only 1.7-2 meters in height. During the first year of life chicks grow at a speed of 25 cm per month. When they’re one year old they weigh around 45 kg. The average life span of these birds may be 40-45 decades. Females bear the capability to recognize their eggs from that of other females.
It’s believed that they first appeared in the Middle Eocene. They are presently found in Africa, south and north of the Sahara, East Africa and much of the Asia Minor. They normally spend the winter months alone or in pairs. They have been found grazing together with the zebras, melbourne fl rat removal and antelopes. They are typically diurnal but may also be active on the moonlit nights. They are most active in the late and early part of the day. The male territory covers an area of about 2-20 square kilometers. They feed on seeds, fruits, flowers, shrubs, and grass but can also prey on insects like locusts occasionally. They lack teeth so also swallow little pebbles which behave as gastroliths helping to grind the food in the gizzard. An adult Ostrich is known to possess around 1 kg of rocks in its gut. While feeding they’re proven to fill their gullet with meals which passes through the oesophagus in the kind of a food bolus. The bolus might be as much as 210 ml. After passing through the neck the food enters the gizzard where it’s grinded by the pebbles. They can live without water for several days and utilize the metabolic water. They love to enjoy the water tub when plenty of water is available. They have the ability to tolerate wide ranges of temperature.
Ostriches become sexually mature at the age of 2-4 years. Females mature six months earlier than the men. They are iteroparous with the breeding season beginning in the month of March and end in September. The man typically hiss or create other calls so as to show victory over a harem of 2-7 birds. The male is then permitted to breed with the females of the group but the pair bond will be formed only with the dominant female. The feminine beats her wings alternately in order to attract a male. They are oviparous birds and the female lays large eggs in a single communal nest which is 30-60 cm deep and 3 m wide. Nest is made by the male. The dominant female lays her eggs in the nest and allows only 20 eggs in the nest and discards the eggs of the weaker females. The eggs may be 15 cm long and 13 cm wide and weigh about 1.4 kg approximately 20 times heavier than the egg . Incubation period is of 35-45 days. The male teaches the girls to feed but both sexes may take part in this activity. The survival rate of the hatchlings is quite low and in an average only 1 chick of the nest reaches maturity. They’re at a risk of being devoured from the hyenas, birds of prey such as vultures and jackals.
Ostriches are hunted for their valuable feather and skin. The Ostrich leather is the most powerful commercial leather known. The meat is similar in taste to that of the lean beef and is low in cholesterol and fat content but is a great source of calcium, proteins and iron.