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Ostrich Facts

Size Up to 9 ft (2.8 m)
Speed Up to 43 mph (70 km/h)
Weight Up to 352 lb (160 kg)
Lifespan 50-70 years
Food Omnivore, roots, plants, small animals
Predators Hyenas, lions, cheetahs
Habitat Africa, Middle East
Order Ratites
Family Ostriches
Scientific name Struthio camelus
Characteristics Largest flightless bird

Main Characteristics

The African ostrich is a ratite. It is the largest and heaviest bird in the world. The ratite family also includes the emu, kiwi, nandu and cassowary.

Ostrich Ostrich - Photo: Elsa Hoffmann/Shutterstock

Ostrich Eggs

Ostriches Lay the Largest Bird Eggs in the World

Of all animals ostriches lay the largest eggs. It would be difficult for one person to eat up a complete ostrich omelette, because one ostrich egg is about as large as 20 chicken eggs.


Ostrich Eggs Are Extremely Hard

The shell of an ostrich egg is so thick, that a human weighing 253 lb (115 kg) could stand on it without damaging it. Also remarkable: You cannot open the egg without using a drill or another appropriate tool, yet the cute little ostrich babies are capable of breaking through the shell by bracing their necks and feet against it from the inside.

Anatomy and Appearance

Ostriches Have a Very Small Brain

Their huge beautiful eyes are bigger than their brain ... this only weighs 1.4 oz (40 g), which is about as much as a small chocolate bar.

Ostrich Egg Ostrich - Photo: Polarpx/Shutterstock

Senses and Abilities

Do Ostriches Have a Good Eyesight?

Ostriches have extremely good eyes and usually detect enemies before other animals do. This is the reason why animals such as zebras and giraffes always try to stay near them. If the ostrich is looking anxious there might be some danger lurking in the bushes.

How Fast Are Ostriches?

Even though ostriches are able to run extremely fast, they are not capable of flying. They are too heavy for that. They can run at a speed of up to 43 mph (70 km/h). That is even fast enough for the highway!


Are Ostriches Intelligent?

With a body height of up to 9 feet (2.8 meters) ostriches may appear quite intimidating. If you want to remain in charge of the situation, you should pick a branch from a nearby tree and hold it above your head. This makes you look "taller" and "stronger" than the ostrich. 1.4 oz (40 g) of brain are just not capable of processing that much information.

Herd of Ostriches Ostrich - Photo: jo Crebbin/Shutterstock


Why Do Ostriches Eat Stones?

Ostriches peck about 30,000 times a day, mainly to feed on seeds, leaves and insects. Yet they do not know how to chew. They also eat up to 3.3 lb (1.5 kg) of stones to grind the food in their stomach.

Enemies and Threats

Do Ostriches Have Enemies?

Adult ostriches do not have any natural enemies. Just like Jackie Chan, they only need to kick a lion with their foot to kill it. No kidding!

Herd of Ostriches Ostrich - Photo: Silke/

Fun Facts

Ostrich Feathers Are Antistatic

Anti-static dust cloths which eliminate every fluff in next to no time have been very popular lately. Ostriches do not need such frippery. They can clean the house with their own feathers. Ostriches are the only birds in the entire world of animals that have anti-static feathers.

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