Why Do Ostriches Bury Their Heads In The Sand?

As the saying goes, ” Ostriches bury their head in sand ”, this quote is actually not true! Ostriches don’t bury their head in Sand.

This myth probably began from the bird’s defensive way of lying low at the approach of trouble and pressing themselves to the ground to try to be less visible. Their feathers blend well with sandy soil and, from a distance, they may look like they’ve buried their heads in the sand.

10 Interesting Facts About Ostriches

Seeing a wild ostrich in its natural environment is one of the pleasures that await anyone on an African Safari. Here we will look at some interesting facts about Ostriches to help us understand them deeply.

Ostriches Are the World’s Largest Bird

Towering over other birds, ostriches can grow up to nine feet tall, with their necks accounting for almost half that height. Male birds can weigh more than 330 pounds, while females are slightly smaller and top out around 320 pounds. And, while ostriches have large, round bodies, their heads are much smaller, with a short, wide bill.

Ostrich Eggs Are the Largest of Any Bird

In addition to being the largest bird on Earth, ostriches also have the largest eggs of any bird. Their eggs — which have thick, glossy, cream-colored shells — have a diameter of about 6 inches and weigh up to 3 pounds. That said, their eggs are actually the smallest relative to the size of the birds. The incubation period of an ostrich egg is between 35 and 45 days, but despite this short period of time, less than 10% of nests survive this long.

Ostriches are Territorial

Territorial fights between males for a harem of two to seven females usually last just minutes, but they can easily cause death because they slam their heads into their opponents.

Ostriches Don’t Have Teeth

Like other modern birds, ostriches don’t have teeth. However, because they are omnivores, they eat everything from roots, plants, and seeds, to lizards and insects. To digest their broad diet, ostriches have to swallow grit and rocks to help break down food. This unique digestion is further assisted by a number of other adaptations, including three stomachs and intestines that stretch about 46 feet in length.

They have 3 Stomachs

Each of the 3 stomachs serves a different function. The glandular stomach takes the role of missing gall bladder and empties into a muscular stomach. The third stomach, Ventriculus is where the stones and pebbles they eat to break down food are stored.

The Male and Female Helping Incubating Eggs.

The eggs are incubated by the dominant female by day (her feathers colors blend in with the sand and camouflages well with the surrounding) and by the male at night (his black feathers make him blend well with darkness and not seen easily). The nest where the eggs are incubated can contain 50+ eggs.

They Can Sprint & Run Faster Than 45 Miles per Hour

With the help of their long, muscular legs, ostriches can sprint over 45 miles per hour when frightened or fleeing a predator. On average, the birds can run at sustained speeds of about 31 miles per hour. Their legs are so long, in fact, that a single stride can span between 10 and 16 feet. In addition to their legs, ostriches can run faster because they have two toes — instead of the three to four toes that most birds have — one of which acts as a hoof that increases speed.

The Wingspan of an Ostrich Is Over Six Feet

Ostriches’ wings reach a span of about two meters, and are used in mating displays, to shade chicks, to cover the bare skin of the upper legs to conserve heat, and as ‘rudders’ to help them change direction while running.

They Can Survive Up to Two Weeks Without Water

Like many other animals that live in the savanna, ostriches can go several days without drinking water. Ostriches do drink from watering holes when they’re available, but they can get most of their water from the food they eat. They are also able to survive without water because of the ability to raise their body temperature and limit water loss. Finally, unlike other birds, ostrich urine is secreted separately from their feces, which allows them to conserve water.

An Ostrich’s Eyelashes Protect It From Sand Storms

The Eyelashes help them avoid dust and protect their eyes. Ostriches have the biggest eyes of any land mammal – almost 5cm across – and three sets of eyelids. The size of their eyes helps them to easily see predators like lions from a long distance.


A writer! Columnist and an academic researcher
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