The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Ostrich

Afrikaans name: Volstruis

Common Ostrich

Ostrich

Photo © Steven Herbert

Struthio camelus

The Ostrich is found over a large portion of South Africa. It may be seen on farms and nature reserves.

Although some male Ostriches may weigh up to 150 kg they average around 115 kg. Females average 100 kg.

From toe to head a male Ostrich may measure up to 2.8 metres. Females are smaller and measure up to 2 metres.

Males are handsome in their black and white plumage. Females are more drab - they are greyish-brown with some white.

An Ostrich may live for 40 years!

Female Ostriches lay their eggs in a communal nest. The eggs are the size of 20 chicken eggs. Both male and female tend to the eggs and chicks.

Many different mammals hunt Ostriches. These include Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Wild Dog and Spotted Hyena. Their eggs and young fall prey to a whole lot of other predators including jackals and Egyptian Vultures.

Ostriches have three methods of protecting their nests and chicks. Firstly they sit still on the nest and hope that they are not detected. Secondly they may run off feigning injury in an effort to try and distract the predator. Lastly they will defend them aggressively using their long legs to kick.

Common Ostrich

Photo © Steven Herbert

Magnificent male Ostrich at Tala Game Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Handsome male Ostrich at Tala Game Reserve

Below - An Ostrich making good use of its long neck to see what's going on.

Ostrich

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

World Birds - Author: Brian P. Martin - Published: 1987 - Page: 149

World Birds - Author: Brian P. Martin - Published: 1987 - Page: 166

World Birds - Author: Brian P. Martin - Published: 1987 - Page: 107

World Birds - Author: Brian P. Martin - Published: 1987 - Page: 126

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 137

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 104

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 1

The Living Deserts of Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Darry Lovegrove - Published: 2021 - Page: 54

Tracks and Tracking in Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Published: 2000 - Page: 35

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 20

World Birds - Author: Brian P. Martin - Published: 1987 - Page: 77

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 134

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1991 - Page: 280

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 138

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 1

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 1

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 1

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 1

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 1

Questions and Answers - Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 4

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa - 4th edition - Author: - Published: 1986 - Page: 119

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 150

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 150

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 408

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 200

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 52

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 9

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 1

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 152

First Field Guide to Animal Tracks of Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Published: 2003 - Page: 15

Game Ranger in your Backpack - Author: Megan Emmett and Sean Pattrick - Published: 2013 - Page: 174

Guide to the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park - Author: Gus Mills and Clem Haagner - Published: 1996 - Page: 66

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 110

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 21

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 200

BirdLife South Africa


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