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ostrich

Struthio camelus

Description:

spotted at houston zoo. The Ostrich, (Struthio camelus), is a large flightless bird native to Africa. It is the only living species of its family, Struthionidae and its genus, Struthio. Ostriches share the order Struthioniformes with the kiwis, emus, and other ratites. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at maximum speeds of about 97.5 kilometres per hour (60.6 mph), the top land speed of any bird. The Ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest egg of any living bird (extinct elephant birds of Madagascar and the giant moa of New Zealand did lay larger eggs). The diet of the Ostrich mainly consists of plant matter, though it also eats invertebrates. It lives in nomadic groups which contain between five and fifty birds. When threatened, the Ostrich will either hide itself by lying flat against the ground, or will run away. If cornered, it can attack with a kick from its powerful legs. Mating patterns differ by geographical region, but territorial males fight for a harem of two to seven females. These fights usually last just minutes, but they can easily cause death through slamming their heads into opponents. The Ostrich is farmed around the world, particularly for its feathers, which are decorative and are also used as feather dusters. Its skin is used for leather products and its meat marketed commercially. Ostriches usually weigh from 63 to 130 kilograms (140–290 lb), with exceptional male Ostriches weighing up to 155 kilograms (340 lb). The feathers of adult males are mostly black, with white primaries and a white tail. However, the tail of one subspecies is buff. Females and young males are greyish-brown and white. The head and neck of both male and female Ostriches is nearly bare, with a thin layer of down. The skin of the females neck and thighs is pinkish gray, while the male's is blue-gray, gray or pink dependent on subspecies. The long neck and legs keep their head 1.8 to 2.75 metres (6 to 9 ft) above the ground, and their eyes are said[by whom? to be the largest of any land vertebrate – 50 millimetres (2.0 in) in diameter; they can therefore perceive predators at a great distance. The eyes are shaded from sun light falling from above.[

Notes:

The Ostrich was originally described by Linnaeus in his 18th-century work, Systema Naturae under its current binomial name. Its scientific name is derived from Latin, struthio meaning "Ostrich" and camelus meaning "camel", alluding to its dry habitat. The Ostrich belongs to the ratite order Struthioniformes.

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SusanEllison
Spotted by
SusanEllison

Houston, Texas, USA

Spotted on Jul 16, 2011
Submitted on Jul 16, 2011

Spotted for Mission

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