Ostriches.
Ostriches.

Common Ostrich

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Ostriches are the largest flightless birds currently in existence.

Ostriches can weigh over 140 kilograms and run real fast about 70 km/h. A person can actually ride an ostrich, which might strike some people as odd since we usually associate riding with quadrupeds, not birds.

Ostriches along with emus, cassowaries, and kiwis belong to a group of birds called the ratites characterized by being flightless and having a breastbone without a keel where the flight muscles would be attached.

Ostriches.

South African Ostriches (Struthio camelus australis) in the Toronto Zoo.

For some reasons humans believe that ostriches are dumb and they will try to “hide” by sticking their heads in the sand — but this is not true.

Ostriches eat mostly plant food, seeds, greens, flowers with some insects if they can find any. They do swallow stones to help their gizzards grind up their food. The common belief is that ostriches will eat anything and swallow all sorts of object — some might have some basis in reality. In the middle ages people used to believe that ostriches could even digest iron, which is of course nonsense.

Being a huge bird, the ostrich lays huge eggs which can be as heavy as 1.4kg. That is a lot of scrambled eggs — the equivalent of about 20 chicken eggs — if one decides to eat it.

The number of wild ostriches have declined but their range is large and they are not considered to be endangered.

Ostriches are farmed for their feathers, their skin and even for their meat.

Ostrich meat is of course edible but it does not really taste like chicken, it is more like beef. I remember that I had ostrich steak before, but it did not leave a lasting impression, it was just a piece of meat.

Further Readings:

Ostrich on Wikipedia.
How to Ride an Ostrich in South Africa.
Ostrich on Animal Fact Guide.

Ostrich farming – How this amazing business makes millions for a Malian entrepreneur.
Why do ostriches have red meat instead of white?

Ratite on Wikipedia.
Ratites – large, flightless birds, most of which are now extinct.

Last updated: September 27, 2014

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