KINGDOM                 Animalia

PHYLUM                   Chordata

CLASS                      Aves

ORDER                     Struthioniformes

FAMILY                    Struthionidae

GENUS/SPECIES    Struthio camelus




 S. camelus is the largest living bird in the world! Size: 7 to 9 ft (2.1 to 2.7 m) tall.  Weight:  220 to 350 lbs (100 to 160kg)

The feathers of adult males are loose soft and smooth mostly black, with white primaries and a white tail. Females and young males are greyish-brown and white. The head and neck of both male and female Ostriches is nearly bare, with a thin layer of down,The skin of the female’s neck and thighs is pinkish gray, while the male’s is blue-gray, gray or pink dependent on subspecies.  Their eyes are almost the size of billiard balls and are larger than their brain.

Although ostriches cannot fly, they are fleet, strong runners. They are the fastest runner of any bird sprinting up to 43 miles (70 kilometers) an hour and can run over distance at 31 miles at 50 kilometers an hour. They may use their wings as “rudders” to help them change direction while running.  An ostrich’s powerful, long legs can cover 10 to 16feet (3 to 5 meters) in a single stride



They are nomadic living in small herds on the African savanna and desert that typically contain less than a dozen birds.



Omnivore, eating plants, roots, and seeds but will also eat insects and lizards. All water necessary comes from food.



Cheeths, lions, African hunting dogs and hyenas.

Ostrich kicks can kill a human or a potential predator as large as  a lion. Each two-toed foot has a long, sharp claw

At the approach of trouble, ostriches will lie low and press their long necks to the ground in an attempt to become less visible. They do not bury their head in the sand.

Average life span in the wild: 30 to 40 years



They are sexually mature at 2 to 4 years of age.  They are polygamous with the males have a harem of two to seven females.  The dominant female Ostrich lays up to 12 fertilized eggs (at 3 lbs largest in the world) in a single communal nest of up to 25 eggs, in a simple pit, 30–60 cm (12–24 in) deep and 3 m (9.8 ft) wide, scraped in the ground by the male. They are actually the smallest eggs relative to the size of the adult bird being on average they are 15 cm (5.9 in) long, 13 cm (5.1 in) wide but are the size of 24 chicken eggs,  The incubation period is 35 to 45 days with fewer than 10% of nests surviving and of the surviving chicks, only 15% of those survive to 1 year of age.


Earthquake Exhibit.  Note that the closest relatives of the Ostrich live in South America and Australia suggesting that their relatives lived together on the supercontinent Pangaea before it separated  into Laurasia (northern continents) and Gondwana (southern continents) 200 million years ago.



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