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We’ve all seen them and we’re all fascinated with the biggest bird in the world – the ostrich. With their long necks, long legs, massive wings and interesting personalities, there’s a reason they’ve become one of the top animals many tourists and locals like to spot in the wild.  

What They Are & What They Do:

As mentioned before, the ostrich is the largest bird in the world, this obviously means that they’re flightless, however, when it comes to running they can reach up to 70km/h. These feathery friends are able to move that fast in part because of the two toes they have on each foot, other birds tend to have four on each. With their size and muscular legs, they are able to deliver extremely powerful kicks which can be used to chase away predators.

In winter, the birds can be found either alone or along with a mate, though during rainless periods they group together in herds of about 5 to 50 individuals. In these herds, when eggs are laid, the females will place their eggs in the dominant hen’s nest which can be up to 3 metres wide. These eggs are considered the largest of any living bird and will be around 15cm long, taking 35 to 45 days to incubate.

Its first line of defence out in the wild is its amazing eyesight, spotting predators from far away. Though, when cornered by lions, cheetahs, leopards or hyenas, it will use its strong legs that also have a 10cm long claw on its toe to kick at the animals. Furthermore, when a predator is close, the bird might also choose to lay low on the ground, lowering its entire neck. In fact, it is said that that might be the reason the myth about them burying their heads exists.

Interesting Facts:

  • They have three stomachs
  • Unlike other birds, they secrete urine separate from their faeces
  • Their wings can reach a span of up to 2 metres and are often used in mating displays
  • They are farmed for their meat, feathers and eggs
  • Because they don’t have teeth, amazingly the ostrich swallows pebbles to grind their food
  • They are the owners of the largest eye of any land animal, this helps them spot predators like lions from far away
  • Their eyes are also bigger than their brains
  • They can live up to 40-60 years old, weigh up to 150kg and grow to be about 2.7m tall
  • Males have black plumage while the females have grey feathers

A visit to the Kruger National Park will increase your chances of viewing the majestic ostrich, as well as other amazing animals. Get in touch with us if you’re seeking comfortable accommodation in the area.