Ostriches room large, flightless bird that have long legs and a long neck that protrudes native a ring body. Males have actually bold black-and-white coloring that they usage to lure females. Females, top top the other hand, are light brown.

You are watching: What is the only bird with two toes

Ostriches room bigger than any kind of other bird in the world. Lock can thrive up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall and also can weigh as much as 320 lbs. (145 kilograms), follow to the African Wildlife Foundation, and also an ostrich\"s eyes are 2 inch (5 centimeters) in diameter — the biggest of any land animal. The ostrich is the only bird that has actually two toe on each foot. All various other birds have three or four toes, follow to the American Ostrich Association.

Where perform ostriches live?

Wild ostriches live in the dry, warm savannas and woodlands that Africa. They when roamed all over Asia, Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, but due to the fact that they have actually been pursued so extensively, wild ostriches\" selection has been reduced to sub-Saharan Africa, follow to the University that Michigan Museum the Zoology. However, ostriches have the right to be discovered in captivity all over the world.

What execute ostriches eat?

Ostriches are omnivores, which way they eat both vegetation and meat. Return they favor plants — specifically roots, seeds and also leaves — they also eat locusts, lizards, snakes and also rodents, follow to the San Diego Zoo. They likewise eat sand and pebbles, to help grind up their food inside your gizzard, i beg your pardon is a small pouch wherein food is crushed and ripped up before it will the stomach. 

Ostriches don\"t need to drink water; they gain all the water they need from the tree they eat. However, they do drink if castle come across a watering hole.

To lure a female, a male ostrich (shown on appropriate wooing a female) will do a small dance in which the crouches down and alternates bringing his black-and-white wings forward, one ~ the other. (Image credit: 4 Oaks Shutterstock)

mating habits

Male ostriches are referred to as cocks or roosters, and also females are referred to as hens. A team of ostriches is dubbed a flock. Flocks deserve to consist of approximately 100 birds, though most have 10 members, follow to the san Diego Zoo. The group has a dominant male and a dominant female and several other females. Lone males come and also go during mating season. 

To get a female\"s attention, males bow and flap their wings exterior to display screen their plumage. When they are prepared to mate, the male\"s beak and shins will rotate bright red. Sometimes, his neck will change to a red color to match. Females also change color when they are ready to mate. Their feathers will revolve a silvery color, according to the American Ostrich Association.

Ostrich egg & infant ostriches

Ostrich eggs space 6 inch (15 cm) in diameter and also can weigh as much as 3 lbs. (1.3 kg). Eggs are laid in a communal nest called a intake nest, which have the right to hold about 60 eggs at one time. Males, as well as females, sit on the eggs until they hatch, which can take 42 come 46 days. 

Ostrich offspring are bigger than any kind of other bird baby. In ~ birth, chicks deserve to be as huge as chickens. The males and also females share the obligation of taking treatment of the young, according to the san Diego Zoo. Throughout an attack, the masculine tries to attract the predator far from the chicken while they run for cover v the female.

By six months, a chick is practically at that is full-grown height; at 3 or 4 years, it will reach maturity. An ostrich have the right to live 50 come 75 years.

The largest and also heaviest living bird, the ostrich is flightless and instead is developed for running. V its an effective legs, the ostrich deserve to sprint in brief bursts up to 43 mph (70 kph), and also can maintain a steady speed of 31 mph (50 kph). (Image credit: Stockxpert.)


Ostriches space in the very same order together cassowaries, emus, kiwis and rheas. The taxonomy of ostriches, follow to the incorporated Taxonomy details System (ITIS), is:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: ChordataClass: AvesOrder: Struthioniformes Family: Struthionidae Genus & species: Struthio camelusSubspecies: Struthio camelus camelus (red-necked or North african ostrich), Struthio camelus molybdophanes (Somali ostrich), Struthio camelus massaicus (Masai ostrich), Struthio camelus australis (South african or southern ostrich)

conservation status

According to the worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature\"s (IUCN) Red List, many ostrich subspecies room not endangered, despite their populations are declining. The Somali ostrich is listed as vulnerable, despite their populace is unknown. The is believed that they space on a rapid decline.

other facts

It might seem exceptional that an ostrich\"s slim legs can keep their large bodies upright. Their legs room perfectly put so that the body\"s facility of heaviness balances on height of the legs. 

Their slim legs offer them an excellent speed and also maneuverability, too. They deserve to run approximately 40 mph (64.3 km/h) because that sustained periods of time, according to the American Ostrich Association.

Contrary to popular belief, ostriches don\"t bury their heads in the sand, however they execute lie down with their heads versus the ground as soon as they feeling threatened. It just looks favor the ostrich has hidden its head due to the fact that its head and neck blend in with the shade of the sand.

Ostriches fight with their feet. They absent forward due to the fact that that\"s the direction in which their legs bend, according to the American Ostrich Association. A hard kick can kill a lion.

Ostrich feather look shaggy due to the fact that they cave loosely and also don\"t hook together prefer feathers on other varieties of birds.

See more: How Far Is Waco Texas From Houston Texas, How Far Is Waco From Houston

additional resources

Alina Bradford is a contributing writer because that Live Science. Over the past 16 years, Alina has actually covered whatever from Ebola come androids while creating health, science and tech short articles for significant publications. She has actually multiple health, safety and also lifesaving certifications native Oklahoma State University. Alina\"s goal in life is to try as plenty of experiences as possible. Come date, she has been a volunteer firefighter, a dispatcher, instead of teacher, artist, janitor, children\"s publication author, pizza maker, occasion coordinator and much more.