Northern African Ostrich

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Common Name: Common or North African Ostrich
Scientific Name: Struthio camelus camelus

Size: 96-108 inches (2.5-2.74 m)

Habitat: Africa; Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Found 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.

Status: Least Concern to Critically Endangered. Global population: Unknown. Historically it was the most widespread subspecies, ranging from Ethiopia and Sudan in the east, throughout the Sahel to Senegal and Mauritania in the west, to Egypt and southern Morocco in the north. It has now disappeared from large parts of this range, and it only remains in 6 of the 18 countries where it originally occurred, leading some to consider it critically endangered.

Diet: Their primary diet includes grasses, shrubs, seeds, roots, leaves and flowers. Occasionally they consume locusts and grasshoppers. They have also been known to eat small animals, such as lizards and mice. Because they have no teeth, they swallow pebbles that help grind the swallowed foods within their gizzard.

Nesting: The neck is pinkish-red. While the plumage of males is black and white, that of females is dark grey.

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.

Cool Facts: 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.

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. Their most important senses are their excellent eyesight and acute hearing, with which they can sense predators such as lions from far away.

The Ostrich is farmed around the world, particularly for its feathers, which are decorative and are also used as feather dusters. Its skin is used for leather products and its meat is marketed commercially.


Found in Songbird ReMix Ostriches

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