The life of an ostrich

The fastest animal on two legs is the ostrich, and it eats plant matter and insects in the grasslands of Africa. It can maintain a running speed of 50 kilometres (30 miles) per hour, which is the ostrich’s primary technique for escaping its fast running predators. Even if approached by a cheetah or an African wild dog, the ostrich’s 10 centimetre (four inch) claws come into play.

Ostriches only have two toes on each foot, and it has the longest foot bone of any bird, which gives the feet supreme power. With one kick an ostrich can inflict serious damage on a threatening predator, and at a whopping maximum 3 metres (10 feet) tall, it is not a bird to be messed with.

Male ostriches are jet black and females are dappled brown, and this different colouration works in their favour. Female ostriches sit on their nest during they day and blend perfectly in with the surrounding savannah, while the black males occupy the nest during darkness to completely cloak the eggs.

Newly hatched ostriches share the brown plumage of their mother and stand at 30 centimetres (12 inches) when they are born. They are able to walk almost immediately after birth and at the age of three or four, males develop their striking black feathers and begin to breed.

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