6 Things You Didn’t Know About Ostriches

Melozhori Private Game Reserve is home to around 130 species of bird including our latest discovery, the Lanner Falcon. In addition to small birdlife and South Africa’s largest flying birds – Kori Bustard – Melozhori is also home to the world’s largest flightless bird, the ostrich. As they are not usually the most talked about bird, how much do you really know about them? Here are some of our favourite ostrich facts;

1. Size

A fully-grown ostrich can reach up a height of around 1.6 metres and weigh in at a whopping 135 kilograms – more than the average heavyweight boxer. In addition to their height, an ostriches’ wingspan can reach approximately 2 metres and are used in mating displays, for shade, and as rudders to change direction while running.

2. Power

Ostriches are the fastest runners out of all two-legged animals and can sprint at speeds of up to 70km per hour with each stride covering around 5 metres. Their powerful legs also come into play when threatened and can deliver a deadly forward kick capable of killing potential predators.

3. Collective Parenting

Each of the herd’s hens place their eggs (each 15cm long) in the larger, 3m wide nest of the dominant female. There, the eggs are incubated by the dominant female by day and male by night for camouflage purposes. Hatchlings are then co-reared by both males and females.

4. Teething Problems

As they lack teeth, ostriches swallow small pebbles to grind their food and can carry around 1kg in stones at any time. Did you know they also have 3 stomachs?

5. Myth Busting

Contrary to the popular myth, ostrich do not bury their heads in the sand but rather press their necks to ground for camouflage as their plumage typically blends to sandy surroundings.

6. No Water, No Problem

Ostriches can go several days without water thanks to their ability to use metabolic water and moisture from roots, seeds and insects. However, if presented with a body of water they will enjoy a nice bath.

Now that you know some of our amazing ostrich facts, it’s time to come and view them and our other wildlife in person. Reservations are easy, simply email info@melozhori.co.za or, if you need further information, visit our website.

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