Struthio camelus

The Ostrich, or Struthio camelus, is one of the largest birds in the world. Ostriches share the order Struthioniformes with emus, kiwis, and other ratites. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at speeds of about 74 km/h (46 mph), the top land speed of any bird. The Ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest egg of any bird species.


The feathers of adult males are mostly black, with white at the ends of the wings and in the tail. Females and young males are grayish-brown and white. The head and neck of both male and female Ostriches is nearly bare, but has a thin layer of down.


They lay eggs that can weigh up to 1.5kg.


Ostriches do not need to drink as they make water internally and get the rest from vegetation. The diet of the ostrich mainly consists of plant matter, although it eats insects as well.


Ostriches are native to savannas and the Sahel of Africa, both north and south of the equatorial forest zone. The Arabian Ostriches in the Near and Middle East were hunted to extinction by the middle of the 20th century.


Ostriches live in nomadic groups of five to 50 birds (led by a top hen) that often travel together with other grazing animals, such as zebras or antelopes. They mainly feed on seeds and other plant matter; occasionally they also eat insects such as locusts. Lacking teeth, they swallow pebbles that help as gastroliths to grind the swallowed foodstuff in the gizzard. An adult ostrich typically carries about 1 kg of stones in its stomach. Ostriches can go without water for several days, living off the moisture in the ingested plants. However, they enjoy water and typically take baths where it is available.