The ostrich is one of the world's most identifiable birds. Native to the Savannas of Africa, both north and south of the equatorial forest zone, ostriches prefer open land as it makes it easier for them to detect predators. In south-west Africa they inhabit the semi-desert and even regions of true desert.
Besides the ostriches obvious extraordinary features, such as its long neck and legs, this magnificent creature is in fact a world record holder four times over! It is the world's fastest living animal on two legs, it is also largest species of bird living today. Furthermore, their eyes are the largest of any land vertebrate, and it lays the largest egg of any living creature. In fact, only the extinct elephant birds of Madagascar and the giant moa of New Zealand are known to have laid larger eggs.
What to find out more about the incredible ostrich? Then check out the following list of ostrich facts.
Ostriches, the bare facts
2. Seven million year old ostrich fossils have been found it southern Russia, India and China.
3. One ostrich living in London Zoo swallowed a spool of film, 3 gloves, a comb, a bicycle valve, a pencil, some rope, several coins, bits of a gold necklace, a collar stud, a handkerchief and a clock.
4. Some African tribes use ostrich eggshells as water containers.
5. It is a common misconception that the ostrich buries its head in the sand. This legend probably came about because – from a distance – the tiny head of a grazing ostrich may not be clearly visible.
6. The male defends his breeding territory by chasing away intruders and displaying aggressively. Flicking his wings or raising them together. This threat display removes the need for more violent confrontation.
8. Standing over 9 feet tall and weighing as much as 400 pounds, the ostrich is the largest living bird today.
9. Its powerful legs enable it to hit a top speed of 43 mph in a short burst and it has been known to kill with one kick.
10. Ostriches originated in the Asiatic steppes about 40 to 50 million years ago. They once occupied all of Eurasia and Africa, but today can only be found on the hot arid Savannas of Africa.
11. The ostrich is farmed around the world, particularly for its feathers, which are used to produce feather dusters.
12. When threatened, ostriches can cause serious injury and death with kicks from their powerful legs. However, if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself threatened by an ostrich then try and get behind them. Why? Because their legs can only kick forward
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