Extraordinary Facts About Ostriches

Does the ostrich really stick its head in the sand? No, it just tries to hide its head by lowering it to the ground. Is an ostrich’s eye really bigger than its brain?

Ostrich fossils have been found which date back for more than 120 million years and the oldest of these was found in Central Europe. Strangely enough fossils have been found in Europe, Africa and Asia, in spite of the fact that wild ostriches are now only found in Africa.

The bird from the oldest of these fossils was identified as a member of the genus ‘Struthio’ and there are still ostriches of this variety alive today.

Photo Credit: Eden Ostrich World

The brain of the ostrich is smaller than its eye. It is actually very small in proportion to the size of the bird. The eye measures about 5 centimetres and is the largest of any land animal.

Photo credit: lh4.ggpht.com

Ostriches live in herds of around a dozen birds and can grow up to nine feet tall and live for as long as forty years. An ostrich’s long legs can cover up to sixteen feet in one stride. It is the fastest land animal on two legs. These legs are used as weapons and one kick can kill a large predator like a lion, or a human being.

Photo credit: Ostrich.com

Ostrich egg are the largest in the world (about twenty times the size of a hen’s egg) and would take about forty minutes to hard boil. The male digs a hole and up to five females deposit their eggs in it. A typical clutch will have as many as twenty-five eggs in it. The male incubates the eggs at night and the dominant female takes over in the day time and it takes around forty-five days for them to hatch.

This bird cannot fly despite its six foot wingspan. The wings have soft feathers underneath which are quite different from flat flight feathers. The wings are used in mating ‘dances’, for providing insulation and to shade their young.

Photo credit: Talkorigins.com

In Roman times ostriches were prized for their meat which is rich, red and low in fat. They were also captured and used for sport in the Roman Arena along side lions and other animals. During the 1800’s ostrich feathers were prized and used to decorate hats and fans and their skins were valued as soft leather. This demand, over hundreds of years, almost led to their extinction in the wild. However, during the first world war the market for ostrich leather disappeared .

During the 1970’s a new market for ostrich meat, leather and feathers started to grow and commercial farms began rearing these birds. Farms grew up in more than 50 different countries because of the ostrich’s ability to tolerate a huge range of temperatures and weather conditions. In UK, Australia and US ostriches are designated as dangerous animals and licenses are need to keep them. A fully grown male can be extremely aggressive and there have been instances of people being seriously injured, or even killed by these beautiful and powerful birds.


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15 Responses to “Extraordinary Facts About Ostriches”
  1. valli Says...

    On August 11, 2008 at 11:30 am

    I heard that the egg of ostrich is the largest one, but I never saw. Today I could see it with this article. I couldn’t imagine the size. Thanks for sharing the nice article.

  2. Glynis Smy Says...

    On August 11, 2008 at 11:33 am

    I loved the babies under mum, did you see the pic the couple had in their garden on my site?so cute. My friend crafts their eggs into things of beauty. I really enjoyed this article, I didn’t know about the size of the brain in relation to the eye. Another fine piece

  3. Kaveri Says...

    On August 11, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    You always have such incredible articles. Its pretty unbelievable that an ostich has its brain smaller than its eyes. 1 vote from my side.
    Keep writing.

  4. Bryan Robertson Says...

    On August 12, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Nice article! That egg would make one heck of an omelet!

  5. Judy Sheldon Says...

    On August 12, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Louie, your article is fascinating with excellent research and wonderful pictures. I believe we have ostrich farms in Michigan, but the turkey was scary enough for me. They used to chase me on my friends farm, and peck at my legs.

  6. Alexa Gates Says...

    On August 12, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    wow! I didnt’ know any of that!

  7. Ruby Hawk Says...

    On August 12, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Ostriches are such interesting birds. They always make me think of Swiss Family Robinson with Francis riding around on his pet ostrich

  8. Emery Conner Says...

    On December 12, 2008 at 11:53 am

    What a pretty bird! :D

  9. Egy Amell Says...

    On March 13, 2009 at 8:29 am

    I hate ostriches
    i grew up in rural australia
    my brother and my favorite dog were both killed by ostriches
    they are terrible creatures

  10. Y. Johnsson Says...

    On May 8, 2009 at 8:33 am

    I hate to correct you, but ostrich eggs aren’t the largest around. Probably are on the land, but sharks lay bigger eggs.

  11. Louie Jerome Says...

    On May 8, 2009 at 9:03 am

    #10 That’s interesting but I think it’s safe to say that we are comparing birds eggs here. A shark egg is not the same thing. It’s more of a sack that holds the embryo and is soft and pliable.

  12. Thomas Says...

    On April 21, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    do you have prove that shark lays bigger eggs? my dad told me that too and he works at the zoo i just cant find it anywhere on the net

  13. tori Says...

    On December 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm


  14. Bibi Says...

    On February 24, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    I agree with tori dinousars egg

  15. Bibi Says...

    On February 24, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    I agree with tori dinosours egg r bigger:?

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