Ostrich at the Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia.
Learn more about the Ostrich
The Ostrich (Struthio camelus) is a large flightless bird native to Africa (and formerly the Middle East). It is the only living species of its family, Struthionidae, and its genus, Struthio. Ostriches share the order Struthioniformes with emus, kiwis, and other ratites. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at speeds of about 65 km/h (40 mph), the top land speed of any bird.
The Ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest egg of any bird species.
The diet of the Ostrich mainly consists of seeds and other plant matter, though it eats insects. It lives in nomadic groups which contain between five and 50 birds. When threatened, the Ostrich will either hide itself by lying flat against the ground, or will run away. If cornered, it can cause injury and death with a kick from its powerful legs. Mating patterns differ by geographical region, but territorial males fight for a harem of two to seven females.
The Ostrich is farmed around the world, particularly for its feathers, which are decorative and are also used for feather dusters. Its skin is used for leather and its meat marketed commercially.