Two-toed, long-necked ratite (Struthio camelus, family Struthionidae) found in Africa, the largest living bird. An adult male ostrich may be nearly 9 ft (2.75 m) tall and weigh more than 330 lb (150 kg). Males are black, with white wing and tail plumes; females are brown. Ostriches live in flocks of 5–50, usually among grazing animals, and eat plants and an occasional small animal. Roaring, hissing males fight for three to five hens, which lay 15–60 eggs in a communal nest scraped in the ground. The male sits at night; the females take turns by day. One-month-old chicks can run with adults, at 40 mph (65 km/hr). To escape detection, an ostrich may lie on the ground with its neck outstretched, a habit that may have given rise to the notion that ostriches bury their heads in the sand.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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