Aug 15, 2011

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the World’s Largest Bird

ostrich head closeup 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by A. KNIESEL

 

Who knew the Ostrich was such a notable record-holder in the Animal Kingdom? Not only is it the world’s largest bird; it also lays the largest eggs [of any bird] and is the fastest two-legged animal on land (sorry Usain Bolt)! Here are 10 things you might not have known about this fascinating bird. Behold! The Ostrich in all of its flightless glory!

 

ostrich 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by MATH KNIGHT

 

The Ostrich is the largest living species of bird in the world, typically weighing 140 – 290 lbs (63.5-131.5 kg) and measuring 6 – 9 ft (1.8-2.7 meters) in height.

 

ostrich from behind 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by HANS HILLEWAERT / CC-BY-SA-3.0

 

Ostriches can run at maximum speeds of about 97.5 km/h (60.6 mph), making it both the fastest bird on land and the fastest two-legged animal in the world.

 

ostrich head in ground is a myth 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by ADAMANTIOS

 

Contrary to popular belief, Ostriches do not bury their heads in sand. This myth likely began with Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79), who wrote that Ostriches: “imagine, when they have thrust their head and neck into a bush, that the whole of their body is concealed.”

 

size of an ostrich egg in hand 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by RAUL654

 

Ostrich eggs are the largest of all bird eggs (and by extension the yolk is the largest single cell), though they are actually the smallest eggs relative to the size of the adult bird. On average they are 15 centimetres (5.9 in) long, 13 centimetres (5.1 in) wide, and weigh 1.4 kilograms (3.1 lb).

 

cooking ostrich scrambled eggs 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
One scrambled ostrich egg equals about 25 chicken eggs | Photograph by HERZI PINKI

 

The Ostrich has just two toes on each foot (most birds have four), with the nail on the larger, inner toe resembling a hoof. The outer toe has no nail, and the reduced number of toes is an adaptation that appears to aid in running.

 

ostrich foot closeup 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by JP BARRASS

 

Ostriches normally spend the winter months in pairs or alone. Only 16% of Ostrich sightings were of more than two birds. During breeding season and sometimes during extreme rainless periods Ostriches live in nomadic groups of five to 50 birds (led by a top hen) that often travel together with other grazing animals, such as zebras or antelopes.

 

group of ostrich 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by GRAVITYWAVE

 

Ostrich wings reach a span of about 2 metres (7 ft) and are used in mating displays and to shade chicks. They are however, unable to fly.

 

ostrich wings 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by REI

 

Ostriches mainly feed on seeds, shrubs, grass, fruit and flowers; occasionally they also eat insects such as locusts. Lacking teeth, they swallow pebbles that act as gastroliths to grind food in the gizzard. An adult Ostrich carries about 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of stones in its stomach.

 

ostrich portrait 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by MIKEL HENDRIKS

 

Unlike all other living birds, the Ostrich secretes urine separately from faeces.

 

ostriches 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by MATH KNIGHT

 

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 it is claimed that Ostriches produce some of the strongest commercial leather. Its meat is marketed commercially with a taste similar to lean beef and is low in fat and cholesterol and high in calcium, protein and iron.

 

ostrich walking 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by SERGEY YELISEEV

 

racing ostrich cart 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird

 

woman riding an ostrich 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by CHAI LADY

 

ALL INFORMATION VIA WIKIPEDIA

 

ostrich gangster 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by TONY WILLS

 

cute ostrich 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird
Photograph by AMADA44

 

 

 

 

 

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gorilla thinking 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Worlds Largest Bird

 

 

 

 

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