The Ostrich is the largest living bird, reaching a height of up to 8 feet. It has a long neck and legs, is flightless, and is capable of running at about 40 mph. It lives in the wild in Africa, and is farmed all over the world.
An adult male will stand nearly 8 feet in height and weigh between 140 to 230 pounds (63-105kg). Females are slightly smaller. The feathers of adult males are mostly black, with some white at the wings and tail. Females and young males are greyish-brown, with a bit of white.
Ostriches belong to the group ratites; other members of this group include rheas, emus, cassowaries and the largest bird ever which is now extinct, the Aepyornis, or Elephant-Bird. Ostriches occur naturally on the savannas and semi-deserts of Africa: in the open dry grasslands of East Africa, South Africa, and in the Sahara and adjacent Sahel area.
Ostriches eat various seeds. grasses, bushes and forage on trees. They mainly feed on seeds and other plant matter. Because they have no teeth, they swallow pebbles that help grind the swallowed foods within their gizzard.
Ostriches live in groups of 5–50 animals that often travel together with other grazing animals such as zebras or antelopes. The ostrich is adapted to a type of life that depends on running to escape predators. It has evolved a cloven hoof consisting of only two toes.Ostriches are nomadic, wandering wherever food is most readily available. However, they never stray very far from water, of which they need a gallon-and-a-half a day. Excellent eyesight and acute hearing are the ostrich's most important senses. With their acute eyesight and hearing, they can sense predators such as lions from far away.
Ostriches are polygamous. The male gathers around him a harem of three to five females, all of which lay their eggs in the same nest over a three week period. Ostrich mating and egg laying will occur shortly before the onset of the rainy season, so that when the chicks hatch there will be plenty of food to sustain them until they are several months old. The completed clutch is incubated by the male at night and the dominant female during the day.
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