Where Do Ostriches Live?
The Ostrich is the largest living bird in the world. It's no wonder the eggs they hatch are so large. Learn all about the Ostrich egg here.
The ostrich is the largest living bird in the world. It's no wonder that the eggs an adult female produces are also known for their gigantic size and weight. To understand the life of an unhatched Ostrich, you must first understand the habits and heritage of its parents.
Not only is the ostrich the largest bird in the world, but it is also the largest of the Ratite family, a species of birds which are unable to fly. A native of Africa, ostrich fossils have been found in North Africa, Europe and Asia. Today, thanks to the commercial ostrich industry, zoos and the sudden popularity of Ostrich farming, the Ostrich thrives in countries all over the world.
Even though the ostrich is unable to fly, it is remarkably fast. Using clawlike toes and muscular legs, the ostrich can run at up to speeds of 40 miles per hour, and sustain this speed for more than 30 minutes. This talent allows the ostrich to remain relatively safe in the wild.
The adult male Ostrich is eight to ten feet in height, thanks to a long neck and powerful, long legs. The male normally weighs 350-400 pounds. The male Ostrich is called a Rooster. Adult females are slightly smaller and less colorful than their male counterpart. The female Ostrich is easily identified by her dull grey and brown plumes. The female averages between 200-300 pounds, and is known as the Hen.
The Ostrich reaches its breeding maturity at 2 1/2-3 years of age, at which time socializing takes on a whole new meaning. Both the male and female Ostrich can breed for 35 years, and are known to produce as many as two thousand young during the course of their lifetime.
During mating season, the Rooster (adult male), who is adorned with stark black and white plumes, develops a bright red coloring on his beak, around the eye area and on the skin of the leg bones. His neck also begins to swell and thicken, allowing him to produce a unique mating sound when courting a Hen or challenging another male for the honor. The Rooster often has to prove his strength and worth to the Hen before she will allow him into her circle.
Once impregnated, both the Hen and the Rooster go about to create a protective environment for their young. Unlike many other species of animals, both parents participate actively in egg watching, scouting danger and providing food. The Ostrich is a communal animal, and will often share living and parenting responsibilities with other Ostrich in their herd, as well. It is quite common for the Hen to sit on her eggs by day and the Rooster to sit on the eggs at night. If one of the parents is killed or injured during the gestation or birthing period, another Rooster or Hen will adopt the eggs and care for them as their own.
The Hen can lay from 40-100 eggs in one calendar year. Most average 60 eggs per year. Each Ostrich egg weighs between 3 and 4 pounds, and is roughly 6-inches in diameter. Even though the Ostrich egg is the largest of all known living creatures, it is the smallest egg produced in relation to the size of it's carrier. The egg has a thick shell, allowing it's 200-400 pound parents to sit on it, without damaging the contents or cracking the exterior. Ostrich eggs are dull yellow in color, allowing them to blend with surroundings and the Hen's natural body color.
One Ostrich egg is equivalent to one dozen chicken eggs. The size of the egg is so large that to soft boil it's contents would take an entire hour. To hard boil an Ostrich egg would take almost two hours.
Ostrich eggs hatch in 42 days. An Ostrich chick grows quickly, normally growing one foot taller each month until it is 7-8 months of age. By the time the Ostrich is 8 months, they are old enough and strong enough to feed and care for themselves. Because the Ostrich family is communal, the baby Ostrich is never far from the watchful eye of it's parents.
The Ostrich typically lives to be 50-75 years old.