Ostrich – The Biggest Bird in the World

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Ostrich is the biggest living bird in the world with a height of 7 to 9 feet and weight of about 220 to 350 pounds.

When it comes to the world’s biggest bird here is what you should know about, they are recorded based on different criteria like the biggest bird existing, the biggest bird ever to roam around the world, and the biggest bird that can fly. Whereas the biggest is different criteria, while the biggest represents the size of the bird. The Biggest Bird in the World – Ostrich.

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Struthio camelus
  • CLASS: Aves (Birds)
  • ORDER: Struthioniformes
  • FAMILY: Struthionidae
  • GENUS: Struthio
  • SPECIES: camelus
  • AVERAGE LIFESPAN: 30 to 40 years
  • SIZE: 7 to 9 feet
  • WEIGHT: 220 to 350 pounds

Even though they cannot fly, Ostriches are strong runners; they can sprint up to 43 miles an hour and run over a distance at 31 miles/hour. They also use their wings as rudders (a flat piece hinged vertically near the stern of the boat or ship to steer). To help them change direction while running.

Ostriches’ long, powerful legs can cover 10 to 16 feet in a single go. Whereas Ostriches legs are strong and each two-toed foot has a long, sharp claw which is more than enough to kill their potential predators like lions and humans.

Ostriches the biggest bird do not bury their heads in the sand which is contrary to popular belief, but this old saw may originate with one of the bird’s defensive characteristics. Ostriches while sensing trouble, they lie low and press their long neck to the ground in an attempt to look less visible. Which looks like they buried their head, while seen from a distance.

Characteristics and Food | What do ostriches eat?

Ostriches usually eat plants, roots, and seeds but sometimes due to harsh habitat they will also eat insects, lizards, or other creatures available in the wild.

While an ostrich eats, the food is collected in the crop at the top of the throat and it slides down the throat when there is a large lump. Ostriches eat food that other animals can’t digest. Another specialty of Ostrich is that they have tough intestines that are 46 feet (14 meters) long (when stretched), in order to absorb as many nutrients as possible. Ostriches also swallow sand, pebbles, and small stones that help grind up food in the gizzard, an organ found in the digestive tract.

Ostriches usually do not need to drink water, as they get enough water from the plants they eat, although they drink if they come to a water hole. They also use their feet and toes to regulate their body temperature on hot days to reduce water loss.

Speed and Movement | How fast can an ostrich run?

Though ostriches cannot fly, they are fleet, strong runners. They can sprint up to 43 miles an hour and on an average they can run over a distance of 31 miles in an hour. They use its wings as “rudders” to change direction while running. An ostrich’s powerful and long legs enables it to cover 10 to 16 feet in a single stride. These legs can also be powerful weapons as their kicks can kill predators like a lion or even human.

Mating habits of Ostriches

Females ostriches are called hens and males are called cocks or roosters, and a group of ostriches is called a flock. According to the San Diego Zoo, most of the flocks have 10 members, though it can go upto 100 birds. The group has a dominant male ostrich and a dominant female ostrich along with several other females.

To attract females, the males bow and flap their wings outward to show their plumage. The male’s beak and shins will turn bright red in colour when ready to mate. Sometimes, the neck also changes its colour to red. When females are ready to meet, their feathers will turn into a silvery color.

Ostrich size

Height : Female – 5.7 to 6.2 feet (1.7 to 1.9 meters) ; Male – 6.9 to 9 feet (21. to 2.7 meters)

Ostrich eggs & baby ostriches

The ostrich eggs are so big which will weigh up to 3 lbs (1.3 kg) and have a size of 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. Eggs are laid in a communal nest called a dump nest, which has the capacity to hold about 60 eggs at a time. Another specialty of the bird is that the males as well as females sit on the eggs until they hatch, which can take 42 to 46 days.

Chick, baby ostriches are larger than any other bird baby. At birth, chicks can be as big as chickens and grow 30 cm (1 ft.) each month. Both males and females share the responsibility of taking care of the young. By six months, a chick reaches its almost full grown height. In 3 or 4 years, it will reach maturity. An ostrich can live 50 to 75 years.

Facts about ostrich 

1. The ostrich has the largest eyes compared to any other land animal. Each eye can be up to 2 inches in diameters

2. Ostriches have three stomachs.

3. The Ostriches eggs are the biggest of any living bird at 15cm long and weighing as much as two dozen chicken eggs.

4. Ostriches can go without drinking for several days, using metabolic water and moisture in ingested roots, seeds and insects. But they enjoy playing in the water.

5. ostriches don’t have teeth, ostriches swallow pebbles to grind their food. 

Most searched questions

How fast can an ostrich run?

70 km/h

Can you ride an ostrich?

Ostriches simply aren’t built to support the weight of a human being, and “this practice is likely to harm the physiology of the animals and have negative welfare implications,

Do ostriches bury their heads?

No, ostriches do not bury their head in the sand,  it’s a popular myth.

How much does an ostrich egg cost?

Fresh ostrich eggs cost around $35–50 per piece. 

Are ostriches dangerous?

A frightened ostrich can deliver dangerous kicks capable of killing large predators. Deaths from kicks are rare.

Other related Questions

1. Which is the Smallest Bird?

Male bee hummingbirds (mellisuga helenae)

2. Which is the Fastest Flying Bird?

The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

3. Which are the Slowest-Flying Birds

The American woodcock (Scolopax minor), The Eurasian woodcock (S. Rusticola)

4. Which bird has the Largest Wingspan?

The wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) 

5. Which bird has the Largest Field of Vision?

American woodcock

List of Top 10 World’s Biggest Birds

Top 10 biggest birds in the world ordered based on height and weight.

World’s Biggest BirdsHeight (m)Weight (kg)
Ostrich2.1 – 2.363 – 145
Southern Cassowary1.5585
Northern Cassowary1.4575
Emperor Penguin1.2222 – 45
Great Rhea1.3540
Lesser Rhea130
King Penguin0.9220
Wandering Albatross3.510
Great Bustard1.121

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