They are so big you almost forget they are actually birds. The ostrich (Struthio camelus) is the largest living bird on earth and lays the largest eggs (that would be one huge omelet). They graze on seeds, shrubs, grass, fruit, and flowers, and even hang out and travel together with other grazing animals like zebras or antelopes. This flightless feathered phenomenon can sprint up to speeds of about 70 km per hour (more than 40 miles per hour), enabling it to outrun all predators but the cheetah, and will deliver a powerful kick if threatened.
During breeding season ostriches live in nomadic groups, with sometimes as many as 50 individuals. Males will fight for a harem of females, who then lay their eggs in a communal nest, but the male will only form a pair bond with the dominant hen. Males and females cooperate in rearing and defending the chicks. We spotted a female ostrich running away from our car, repeatedly tripping over herself and falling on the ground. We watched her for a while, worried she was injured, but they we noticed a male ostrich leading a large group of chicks swiftly away in the other direction! The female had tricked us with her ‘fake injury’ decoy strategy, bravely diverting our attention so her vulnerable babies could escape.
Science News and Updates From the Field from Wild Nature Institute.
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