Ratites are flightless birds. They have wings but do not fly. Is it due to their size?
Ratites include emus and cassowaries in the Casuariidae family, kiwis in the Apterygidae family, ostriches in the Struthionidae family, and rheas in the Rheidae family.
Continue reading “Flightless birds and their size” →
What is the average lifespan of a bird?
It is difficult to get an accurate figure on the lifespan of wild birds, says the American Bird Conservancy.
However, usually, the larger the bird species, the longer it lives. Therefore, the Ostrich in the Struthionidae family, lives longer than the House Sparrow in the Passeridae family.
For example, the large Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) in the Diomedeidae family, with the longest wingspan of any bird on Earth – up to 350 centimetres (11.5 feet) across – can live up to 80 years.
Continue reading “What is the average lifespan of a bird?” →
How long do bird eggs take to hatch?
Different bird species lay different sized eggs. Large birds lay larger eggs than smaller birds.
The chicks of larger bird species usually take longer to hatch than the chicks of smaller bird species.
Some examples include the following:
The Ostrich is the the largest bird in the world and its egg is the largest bird egg in the world. It measures about 15 centimetres (6 inches) long. The egg takes about 35-45 days to hatch.
Continue reading “How long do bird eggs take to hatch?” →
How does an Ostrich drink?
An Ostrich has a unique tongue. It is triangular and short (about a quarter of the size of its beak). It is also fixed in position. It cannot use its tongue to lap up water.
Continue reading “How does an Ostrich drink?” →
The Red-Necked Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) is a large flightless bird in the Struthionidae family of ratites. It is also known as the North African Ostrich or the Barbary Ostrich. It is a sub-species of the Common Ostrich. It is related to the emu, rhea, cassowary, and kiwi.
The male Red-Necked Ostrich is black with white tail feathers, a featherless red neck, and red thighs. The female and young male have grey feathers. It has the largest eyes of any land vertebrate. Its legs have no feathers. The Red-Necked Ostrich has two toes on each foot, whereas most birds have four toes and emus have three toes.
It cannot fly because its feathers lack the tiny hooks that lock together to make external feathers smooth for flying. Its long legs and large wings makes it able to zigzag when it runs.
Continue reading “Red-Necked Ostrich” →
What are the similarities and differences between big bird feathers – the feathers of the largest birds on earth?
The Emu, the Cassowary, the Ostrich, and the Rhea are large flightless ratite birds. The Emu is from Australia, the Cassowary is from northern Australia and New Guinea, the Ostrich is from countries in Africa, and the Rhea is from countries in South America.
Their wings have no keel (anchor) on their sternum (a long flat breastbone) to connect to their wing muscles, which means that the birds can’t fly. Therefore, their feathers are mainly decorative.
Continue reading “Big bird feathers: Emu, Cassowary, Ostrich, and Rhea” →
The Greater Rhea has large eggs, but they are not as large as ostrich eggs.
When a female Rhea lays an egg, it is greenish-yellow at first, and quickly changes to dull creamy-white.
A Rhea egg measures about 13 centimetres (5 inches) long and 9 centimetres (3.5 inches) high, which is half the size of an ostrich egg, and almost twice the size of a chicken egg.
Continue reading “Rhea Eggs” →
Why do ostriches, the largest living bird species, with the largest eggs of any bird, have two legs but four knees? Specifically, ostriches have four kneecaps, and therefore four knees. Emus and cassowaries have no kneecaps.
Sophie Regnault, and her research colleagues at the Royal Veterinary College in London, examined a dead ostrich donated to the college.
They bent and straightened the ostrich’s knees, and used an imaging technique called biplanar fluoroscopy to track how the bones moved. Then they built a simple model to understand how the kneecaps affected the leverage of the muscles controlling the knee.
Kneecaps help animals to flex the extensor muscles in their knees, so that they don’t need to exert force to straighten their knees.
However, ostriches have an upper kneecap and a lower kneecap on each leg that act differently from the kneecaps of other animals.
Continue reading “RESEARCH: Why do ostriches have two legs but four knees” →
Ostriches bury their heads in the sand. This is not true. It is a fallacy.
When ostriches are alarmed, they do not bury their heads in the sand, but they lie low and press their long necks down on the ground. This is because they are trying to hide from their predators, or to be less visible and not so prominent (large).
From a distance, it might look as if they have buried their heads in the sand, but they haven’t.
Continue reading “Fallacy: Ostriches bury their heads in the sand” →
What is a ratite?
A ratite is a flightless bird – a bird that cannot fly – such as an emu, ostrich, kiwi, or cassowary.
Continue reading “What is a Ratite?” →
The Masai Ostrich (Struthio camelus massaicus) is also called the Pink-Necked Ostrich or the East African Ostrich.
The Somali Ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes) is also called the Blue-Necked Ostrich.
The male Masai Ostrich has a featheless pink neck, pink thighs, and pink legs.
The male Somali Ostrich has a featherless blue neck, grey thighs, and grey legs.
Continue reading “What’s the difference between Ostriches: Masai Ostrich and Somali Ostrich” →
The Somali Ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes) is a large bird in the Struthionidae family of ratites. It is also called the Blue-Necked Ostrich. It is a ratite, related to emus, rheas, cassowaries, kiwi, and the Masai Ostrich.
The male Somali Ostrich is a flightless black bird with white tail feathers, a featherless blue-grey neck and featherless grey thighs. The skin of the female’s neck and thighs is grey. The male’s neck and thighs become brighter in mating season. The female and young males have brown feathers. It has the largest eyes of any land vertebrate. The Somali Ostrich has two toes on each foot, whereas most birds have four toes and emus have three toes.
It cannot fly because its feathers lack the tiny hooks that lock together to make external feathers smooth for flying. Its long legs and large wings enable it to zigzag when it runs.
Continue reading “Somali Ostrich” →
The Masai Ostrich (Struthio camelus massaicus) is also called the Pink-Necked Ostrich or the East African Ostrich. It is a ratite, related to emus, rheas, cassowaries, and kiwi.
The Masai Ostrich is the largest bird in the world, growing to 2-3 metres (7-9 feet) tall. Their wingspan is about 2 metres (6.5 feet).
It is a large, flightless black bird with white tail feathers, a featherless pink neck and pink thighs. The skin of the female’s neck and thighs is pinkish grey. The male’s neck and thighs are pink, and become brighter in mating season. Females and young males are greyish-brown and white.
They have the largest eyes of any land vertebrate. Their legs have no feathers. The Masai Ostrich has two toes on each foot, whereas most birds have four toes and emus have three toes.
Continue reading “Masai Ostrich” →
The Ostrich (Struthio camelus) is a large African flightless bird.
Its wings are also large, with a wingspan of about two metres (6 feet and 7 inches).
Ostriches have many differences from flying birds.
Flying birds have external feathers with hooks that lock together. The Ostrich external feathers do not have tiny hooks that lock together. These hooklets are called barbules. They zip the vanes of individual feathers together to make the feather strong enough to hold the airfoil (the shape of the wing that makes it aerodynamic). Similar foils in water are called hydrofoils.
Continue reading “Ostrich Wing: why the ostrich can’t fly” →
How many toes does an ostrich have? How many toes does an emu have?
The ostrich has two toes.
The emu has three toes.
Most birds have four toes.
Ducks, geese, and water birds have webbing between their toes. They have webbed feet.
Continue reading “Ostriches and Emus: How many toes?” →