Ostriches are odd creatures. They are the tallest birds in the world — about the height of a man (2 m) — have larger eyes than any other land animal, and proportionately an itsy bitsy brain. They are flightless but are exceptionally good runners, known to have burst speeds up to 70 km/h and sustained running speeds of 50 km/h. While they look awkward and vulnerable, their powerful legs legs make good weapons easily capable of killing a man or gutting a lion.
Ostriches are mostly found on the African Savannah and live in small herds of less than a dozen birds, like you see in this photo. Males have the dark plumage and females are a drab gray-brown color. It’s said that ostriches will bury their head in the sand when trouble approaches but actually they just lie low, pressing their long necks to the ground to reduce their profile, and don’t stick their head into the ground.
Except that they are a popular source of leather, feathers and eggs (for decoration), that’s about all I know about ostriches. In my limited experience in Africa, they weren’t that commonly seen and this was the only large grouping of them we encountered.
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2 Responses to “Pic of the Week”, Oct. 25, 2013. Ostriches, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania