How Tall Is An Ostrich?

how tall is an ostrich

If you love birds, then an ostrich will interest you. The ostrich is the tallest bird on Earth, leading us to question its height. So, how tall is an ostrich? This article discusses the height of an ostrich and factors that may promote or hinder its growth.

Do these factors include diet, breeding patterns, social structures, and perceived threats? But, first, Let’sLet’s find out the height of this enormous bird and its survival mechanism in the wild.

An Ostrich

A full-grown ostrich

An ostrich is an enormous flightless bird, uniquely identified by its size, color, long bald neck, and long legs. An ostrich is considered a flightless bird due to its large and short wings; however, size does not affect how fast it moves. 

The two main ostrich species are the common ostrich (Struthio camelus) and the Somali ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes) found in Africa. These species belong to the Aves class and Struthionidae family. The common ostrich is the tallest species, followed by the Somali. Ostriches lay eggs, with a single egg weighing up to three pounds.

These birds are native to parts of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Asia. However, the majority of the ostrich population is only found in sub-Saharan Africa since they are endangered species.

Ostrich’s Height To Fast Running

A tall ostrich running

Ostriches are fast runners, capable of sprinting at 43 mph over short distances and maintaining 31 mph over longer distances. Their height enables them to take long strides to cover long distances in a short time. Ostriches cover 10 to 16 feet in one step, which is similarly equivalent to the length of a regular standard family car. Ostriches travel at these fast rates thanks to their large, sturdy legs and two clawed toes.

Size And Weight Of An Ostrich To Its Height

Ostriches walking in the savanna

The ostrich is the most significant and heaviest bird on Earth. The males weigh 220 to 290 pounds and are 7 to 9 feet tall. The female ostrich ranges from 5.7 to 6.2 feet tall and weighs 200 to 240 pounds, with its neck being half of its body. 

An ostrich’s neck contributes to its general height, a fully grown ostrich has a neck extending up to one meter long. Ostrich’s necks act like a radiator to control head temperature. The neck functions like a thermal window emitting excess heat in hot conditions and retaining heat in the cold. In addition, it helps in stabilizing the temperature of the head and brain. Research suggests that, as the planet warms, ostrich necks could evolve to become even longer.

The Diet Of An Ostrich

A big ostrich feeding

Ostriches are omnivores. Their diet changes depending on the food sources in their environment. They eat vegetation and animals such as insects, lizards, snakes, and rodents. Ostriches have complex intestines to absorb enough nutrients, allowing them to eat substances other animals cannot digest.

Ostriches also ingest sand, pebbles, and tiny stones that aid the gizzard in breaking down food. Ostriches do not need to drink water frequently as they get water from vegetation sap. However, ostriches hydrate at a watering hole.

The diet of the ostrich, therefore, helps it to grow very tall. Here is a more detailed analysis of what ostriches eat.

How Tall Is An Ostrich’s Egg?

Crop hands holding an ostrich’s egg

Ostrich females lay 7 to 10 eggs at a time. The enormous eggs are from ostriches; they weigh around 3 pounds, are 6 inches long, and are 5 inches wide. It takes between 42 and 45 days for incubation to occur. As a result, the chicks are as tall as an ordinary chicken when they hatch and grow at a pace of 1 foot every month.

The chicks begin to display their adult plumage by four months, and by six months, they are as tall as their parents. Ostriches achieve sexual maturity around three or four years old when the males begin to develop their black and white feathers.

How An Ostrich Uses Its Height To Deal With Threats

Animals such as leopards, cheetahs, hunting dogs, lions, and spotted hyenas are considered the natural predators of ostriches when analyzing threats to ostriches. Since ostriches are taller than their predators in the jungle, they use their height to sight them. 

The tallest ostrich can be up to 7 feet, while the shortest one is around 5 feet. The ostrich has an elongated bald neck that boosts its height. Its long neck enables it to spot predators from afar, then decide whether to run or attack.

If caught unawares, it flops to the ground and remains motionless with its head and neck flat on the ground.

An ostrich also has long, sturdy legs contributing to its general height. When an adult ostrich feels threatened, it fights by kicking with its tall legs, which can be hard enough to kill a lion.

How To Measure An Ostrich

It is possible to measure an ostrich in four distinct ways: 

  1. The bird’s height from the ground to the top of its head determines how tall the ostrich is. 
  2. Body depth measurements are taken from the top of their back, behind their legs, and to the front.
  3. The body length is then measured from the neck to the base of the tail.
  4. The last measurement is body width, which is taken directly across the back from the outside of the drum muscles.

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