5 Facts About Ostriches

  • Ostriches are the fast runners of any birds or other two-legged animal and can sprint at over 70 km/hr, covering up to 5m in a single stride.
  • Ostriches’ running is aided by having just two toes on each foot (most birds have four), with the large nail on the larger, inner toe resembling a hoof.
  • Ostriches’ wings reach a span of about 2 meters and are used in mating displays, to shade chicks, to cover the naked skin of the upper legs and flanks to conserve heat, and as “rudders” to help them change direction while running.
  • When threatened ostriches run although their powerful, long legs can be formidable weapons, capable of killing a human or a potential predator like a lion with a forward kick.
  • Ostriches normally spend the winter months in pairs or alone and  during breeding season and sometimes during extreme rainless periods they live in nomadic ‘herds’ of five to 50 birds led by a top hen, that often travel together with other grazing animals, such as zebras or antelopes.
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