When asked about ostriches, what do you imagine?
Many people would think of a bird that runs very fast!
Of course, that is the most characteristic and famous feature of ostriches.
However, this page also has other interesting aspects of ostriches!
Why don’t you explore the mysterious world of ostriches?
～ Basic information. ～
Length 1.8m. Head height 2.1～2.8m.
Ostriches are called “ostriches” in English. They mainly inhabit Africa and savannas. It is said to be the largest bird in the world that is currently confirmed.
The body is covered with feathers, but the head and neck are in a state where the skin is exposed. Although many feathers grow, the wings are surprisingly small and cannot fly.
Instead, the legs are muscular and it is a very fast bird to run.
Since only two fingers grow, it can be said that it has a very powerful leg strength.
During the breeding season, male ostriches create a group like a harem by putting in multiple females.
Since one female lays about 4 to 8 eggs, a total of 25 eggs are laid in one nest by simple calculation, and up to about 60 eggs are laid.
After about 42 days of incubation, chicks are born from the eggs. The size is about 1 kg in weight and 15 cm in length. The lifespan of an ostrich is about 50 to 60 years. Some ostriches have lived for about 80 years.
Ostriches usually eat plants and their seeds, but sometimes eat small animals and insects.
In areas such as Africa where there are few water sources, they replenish their water by eating plants.
Why can’t ostriches fly?
The image of ostriches is that they run around in deserts rather than flying in the sky.
Actually, ostriches cannot fly because their wings are small. So why did they become like that?
Considering the pride of ostriches, it may be more accurate to say that “they don’t need to fly” rather than “they can’t fly.”
Surprisingly, recent studies have shown that birds that are ancestors of ostriches and lived during the time when dinosaurs were alive could fly.
Birds living in this era were able to live without being eaten by large carnivorous dinosaurs by flying. However, if the dinosaurs became extinct, the situation would be different and there would be no need to worry about being attacked even if they lived on the ground.
And as a result of the change in the environment where they can eat a lot of food, the ostrich gradually gains weight and realizes that it can survive without flying.
It is Flying in the sky uses a surprising amount of energy. Birds can live longer if they conserve their physical strength, and if they don’t need to fly, it’s easier.
As expected, it is not possible to survive the harsh natural world with only that, so the ostrich continued to evolve to become stronger with special legs, and as a result, it acquired a body that can run fast instead of flying in the sky.
How fast can an ostrich run?
As mentioned in the previous Q&A, ostriches have evolved to run fast.
So how fast can an ostrich actually run?
Surprisingly, ostriches can run at a speed of 60 km/h and sometimes even reach 70 km/h. This is faster than the average speed of cars on normal roads which is about 40-50 km/h. In some cases, ostriches can run at a speed that can catch up with cars.
What’s even more amazing is that ostriches can run for over an hour at a speed of 60 km/h.
The strength of their legs is not the only impressive thing about ostriches. They also have strong kicking power. It is said that their power can reach up to 4.8 tons and they can kick and kill a lion if attacked.
As mentioned in the basic information, ostriches only have two toes on their feet, but one of them is hardly used.
In other words, the entire weight is on one large toe, which makes it feel like standing on tiptoes.
This is similar to the structure of the legs of horses which are also fast runners. So the secret to ostriches’ speed lies in the number of toes.
Where does the ostrich get its name?
In English, it is called ‘ostrich’, but in Japanese it is called ‘dacho’. This time, I will introduce the origin of why it is called ‘dacho’ in Japanese.
Ostrich is written in kanji as”dacho”. And the kanji character “da” is also “da” of camel.
Because it has a large body like a camel, it is thought that the ostrich was created by taking the word “da” and adding the word “tori” to represent a bird.
Do ostriches like shiny things?
To put it simply, this is true.
In fact, ostriches are naturally curious creatures, so it is not clear whether they are really only interested in shiny objects.
Is it true that ostrich eyes are good?
This story is surprisingly unknown, but it is actually true.
Ostriches are said to have good eyesight among birds. Although it has not been measured, it is believed that ostriches can see things up to 5 km away.
Interestingly, the eyeballs of ostriches are heavier than their brains. The eyeballs weigh about 60g while the brain weighs about 40g.
What is the difference between male and female ostrich?
At first glance, ostriches may not seem to have any major differences, but upon closer inspection, the feathers of males are black while those of females are brownish. Also, males have a characteristic of turning their beaks and shins red during the breeding season.
There seems to be a reason why the feathers are different between males and females. It is said that males can blend in with the darkness of the night, while females can blend in with the color of the earth.
This is camouflage to avoid being found by enemies.
Can you eat ostrich eggs?
Have you ever seen an ostrich egg on TV or elsewhere?
The size is very large with a diameter of about 15 cm and a weight of about 1.5 kg. If you replace it with a chicken egg, it is said to be equivalent to about 30 eggs, making it the world’s largest egg.
Can ostrich eggs be eaten as scrambled eggs or other dishes?
Actually, like chickens, ostriches can lay “unfertilized eggs” even without males, so they can be eaten.
Recently, they are often raised as livestock, so if there is an ostrich park nearby, you may be able to buy them. The price is about 2,000 to 3,000 yen per egg.
Ostrich eggs have very thick shells, so they are cracked little by little using tools such as chisels when cracking them open. The taste is lighter than that of chicken eggs, but the yolk is rich in flavor, making it surprisingly easy to cook.
By the way, ostrich meat can also be eaten like chicken. Few people may have eaten it, but it is high in protein and low in fat with no particular taste.
It is still not a well-known food, so the price is high compared to pork and other meats, but it is expected to be a new type of meat with high nutritional value.
Why do ostriches make harems?
There are several animals that form groups and breed.
For example, lions form a group called a “pride,” and “elephant seals” also form similar groups.
Ostriches are one of these animals that form harems during the breeding season.
However, it is not clear why ostriches form harems. The contents of the harem are interesting, so let me introduce them.
As mentioned in the basic information, an ostrich harem is a group of several females and one male. They breed from around summer.
Among them, females fight each other, and the winner becomes the parent bird that can leave offspring. So what happens to the losing female? The male in the harem will mate with the losing female as well, so other females can lay eggs as well… but they are treated differently.
First of all, the parent bird places its own eggs in the center and arranges the eggs laid by other females around it.
What’s amazing is that they can tell which eggs are their own and which ones are not.
By doing this, even if their eggs are targeted by enemies, the eggs on the outside will become decoys and the parent bird can safely warm its own eggs.
During the day, females warm the eggs, while males take over at night. The different colors of their feathers are also useful here.
The sight of males with a free-spirited feel and females trying to leave offspring with a clever play on words… how did you feel about it?
Why do ostriches bury their heads in the ground?
A mysterious behavior that is probably rarely seen in zoos. It seems somewhat meaningless, but there is a proper explanation for it.
In the first place, it is said that they are not burying their heads, but rather rubbing their long necks on the ground to avoid being found by enemies.
Ostriches have the ability to run for long periods of time at speeds of up to 60 km/h, so if they have time to do such a thing, they probably know that it is much safer to run away quickly. Therefore, the true identity of this mysterious behavior is likely to be a case of someone mistaking what they saw.
Type of ostrich.
・South African Ostrich.
・Arabian Ostrich-Extinct species.