The record breaker
Orchestrating an assault on the record books, the ostrich is the world’s largest bird, lays the largest eggs of any living creature, and has the largest eyes of any land animal. Its peepers are as large as 5 centimetres (2 inches).
How big can it get?
The largest of these flightless birds looms over humans with a near 3 metre frame. It can weigh up to 160 kilograms (350 pounds). More impressively, its lengthy legs can cover up to 5 metres in one stride.
What does it eat?
Native to the vast African savannah and deserts, its adaptable diet includes flora and fauna. Plants, shrubs, fruit, and seeds offer green goodness while insects, lizards, and locusts offer meaty goodness.
How does it eat?
The ostrich has no teeth so eating could become problematic. To overcome this hindrance, it swallows stones which sit in its stomach and are used to break down food once it has been swallowed.
How dangerous is it?
Naturally defensive, it will ordinarily avoid contact with humans. If it feels threatened, or fears for its eggs, it can deliver a punishing kick that is strong enough to kill humans as well as other predators, including lions.
How many are left?
Despite numbers having dropped off considerably over the past two centuries, ostrich numbers remain stable thanks to the expansive range that it keeps.
They may look ungainly but these 9 foot giants are the fastest creatures on two legs. In fact, they can run as fast as a top racehorse – indeed ostrich racing is a popular sport in many African countries. They have wide two-toed feet similar to a horse’s hoof and the longest legs of any bird. And when they spot danger, they don’t hang about! With their long, muscular legs powering them forward, ostriches can maintain a steady-running speed of around 30 mph (km/hr) over a long distance and flat out they have been clocked running across grassland at over 40 mph.