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Ostrich (Struthio camelus)



Ostrich (Struthio camelus)
The ostrich is the largest living bird. Adult males stand nearly 8 feet in height and weigh between 140 to 230 pounds. The ostrich is perfectly adapted to a mode of life that depends on running to escape predators. It has evolved a cloven hoof consisting of only two toes, similar to that of the other animals that share its plain's existence.



I. DESCRIPTION:

  • The ostrich is the largest living bird. Adult males stand nearly 8 feet in height and weigh between 140 to 230 pounds.
  • The ostrich is perfectly adapted to a mode of life that depends on running to escape predators.
  • It has evolved a cloven hoof consisting of only two toes, similar to that of the other animals that share its plain's existence.
II. GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
  • The ostrich can be found among the salt bushes that grow on the South African savanna.
  • Ostriches are nomadic, wandering wherever food is most readily available.
III. DIET:
  • Ostriches eat various seeds, grasses, bushes and forage on trees. They supplement this diet with animal food such as invertebrates and small vertebrates, which they chase by running.
IV. LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
  • The ostrich lays the largest egg, weighing up to 3.3 pounds, with a shell 2-mm thick.
  • The male usually digs out a 10-foot-wide nest. A harem of up to 18 (but usually two to five) females may lay 40 or more eggs in a single nest, although only about 20 are normally incubated, with the surplus being pushed outside the nest and left unincubated.
  • While defending their nests, ostriches can be very aggressive and have been said to kill young lions with their strong kicks. In fact, kicking is the bird's best weapon and delivers 500 pounds of force per square inch. Ostriches are able to run at 50 mph.
  • Ostriches begin breeding at the age of 4, and live for 30 to 70 years.
V. SPECIAL NOTES/ADAPTATIONS:
  • An ostrich has been seen to pass an antelope in full gallop at 40 miles per hour, a feat that places it among the fastest of all birds, in spite of the fact that it does not fly.



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