Ostriches are large, flightless birds that have long legs and long necks that protrude from a round body. Males have a bold black-and-white coloring that they use to attract females. Females, on the other hand, are light brown.
Ostriches are bigger than any other bird in the world. They can grow up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall and can weigh up to 320 lbs.and an ostrich’s eyes are 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter — the largest of any land animal. The ostrich is the only bird that has two toes on each foot. All other birds have three or four toes, according to the American Ostrich Association.
Wild ostriches live in the dry, hot savannas and woodlands of Africa. They once roamed all over Asia, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula, but because they have been hunted so extensively, wild ostriches’ range has been reduced to sub-Saharan Africa, However, ostriches can be found in captivity all over the world.
Male ostriches are called cocks or roosters, and females are called hens. A group of ostriches is called a flock. Flocks can consist of up to 100 birds, though most have 10 members, according to the San Diego Zoo. The group has a dominant male and a dominant female and several other females. Lone males come and go during the mating season.
To get a female’s attention, males bow and flap their wings outward to display their plumage. When they are ready to mate, the male’s beak and shins will turn bright red. Sometimes, his neck will change to a red color to match. Females also change color when they are ready to mate.
Ostriches are in the same order as cassowaries, emus, kiwis, and rheas. The taxonomy of ostriches, according to the Integrated Taxonomy Information System (ITIS), is:
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Struthioniformes
- Family: Struthionidae
- Genus & species: Struthio camelus