Our planet is home to not only us but an abundance of different kinds of wild life. We have so many different species who live amongst us and yet we haven’t even discovered them all! Studies show that we have discovered an estimated 8.7 million different species and out of that 8.7 million 9,787 are birds. With that being said you may find yourself wondering out of nearly thousands of birds “what is our planets biggest bird?”. The biggest bird on earth goes by the scientific name of “Struthio camelus” or for the rest of us who aren’t scientists the “Ostrich”.
The Ostriches physical features
This bird is known as the world’s biggest bird for reason. A male ostrich weighing more than 300 pounds will grow to be seven to nine feet tall in length. Females (also referred to as hens) while still very large birds are a little smaller compared to the males. The females will grow to be a little over six feet and usually weight nearly 220 pounds. While males tend to have black and white feathers on the tips of their wings and tails; a female ostrich has light feathers that are grayish brown in color. Now although this bird has wings that does not mean that it flies. Ostriches are the largest non-flying bird and they use their wings to help them stay balanced and steer themselves while running. Both male and female’s ostriches have a strong and long set of legs as well as a long neck. They can run as fast as 40 mph for long periods of time and the thinness of their legs makes them great at maneuvering. A well-known fun fact is that ostriches have the largest eyes on any land animal. Their eyes measure out to be 2 inches in diameter.
Where does the Ostrich Live?
Ostriches have wandered the earth for roughly 120 million years. Many may assume that the Ostrich is native to the African savannah however, in the 20th century they once could be found roaming the lands of the Middle East. Unfortunately, the Ostrich has been hunted so vastly that they were wiped out of the middle east. They may not be on the verge total of extinction yet but the population is continuing to decrease even today. The majority of their kind now resides in the savanna and the deserts of Africa. Although they live in Africa and can withstand the sweltering heat of the savannah they can embrace chillier climates as well. You can find a lot of these birds all over the world now days in captivity. This species can adapt very well to their environment and live the life of a nomad always on the move.
What is an Ostriches diet?
The diet of an Ostrich can contain both vegetation and animals. This means that they are omnivores. Despite these large bird’s omnivorous diet, they do prefer plants over meat. Some of the most common plants they eat are grasses, leaves, shrubs, roots, seeds, and flowers. Sometimes they will eat locusts, grasshoppers, lizards, snakes, rodents, and animal remains. They even eat sand and pebbles which helps them grind up their food inside their gizzard. The gizzard is a small pouch like organ where food can be grinded up so it’s easier on their stomach. The reason Ostriches can eat almost anything is due to their digestive system. Our biggest bird also has a rather big set of intestines as well. An ostriches’ intestines measure out to be 46 feet (14 meters) in length and one of the reasons it is so large is so their body has plenty of time to soak up the largest amount of nutrients from their food.
Ostriches are a very unique species. From their appearance, their speed, and even their ability to adapt we know that they are a powerful bird. So, the next time you find yourself in the African savannah or partaking in a safari make sure you keep an eye out for more than lions! The savannah is home to so many creature’s worth observing and the ostrich is one of them.