The Ostrich (Struthio camelus, Greek "sparrow camel") is the largest living bird, reaching a height of up to 2.5 metres (8 feet). It has a long neck and legs, is flightless, and is capable of running at about 65 km/h (40 mph). Living in the wild in Africa, it is farmed all over the world. Physical description: Male ostriches weigh up to 155 kg and are larger than females. The feathers of adult males are mostly black, with some white at the wings and tail. Females and young males are greyish-brown, with a bit of white. The small vestigial wings are used by males in mating displays. They can also provide shadow to the chicks. The feathers are soft and quite different from the stiff airfoil feathers of flying birds. They serve as insulation. There are claws on two of the wings fingers.













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The strong legs don't have feathers. The bird stands on two toes, with the bigger one resembling a hoof. This is an adaption unique to ostriches which appears to aid in fast running. The eyes of ostriches with their thick black lashes are the biggest eyes of all living land animals; only whales have bigger ones. Behavior: Ostriches live in nomadic groups of 5–50 animals that often travel together with other grazing animals such as zebras or antelopes. They mainly feed on seeds and other plant matter; occasionally they also eat animal matter such as locusts. Lacking teeth, they swallow pebbles that help to grind the swallowed foods in the gizzard. They can go without water for a long time, exclusively living off the moisture in the ingested plants. However, they like water and frequently take baths.
Images: 001-003.jpg courtesy Us Fish and Wildlife Service
004-009.jpg courtesy Schmode.net



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