Ostrich Chases Down Cyclists in South Africa – VideoKeith
Ostrich – what a bird!
The flightless ostrich is the world’s largest bird.
They have three stomachs.
Unlike all other living birds, they secrete urine separately from faeces.
Ostriches are the fast runners of any birds or other two-legged animal and can sprint at over 70 km/hr, covering up to 5m in a single stride.
Their running is aided by having just two toes on each foot, with the large nail on the larger.
Their wings reach a span of about 2 metres and are used in mating displays, to shade chicks, to cover the naked skin of the upper legs and flanks to conserve heat, and as “rudders” to help them change direction while running.
When threatened ostriches run although their powerful, long legs can be formidable weapons, capable of killing a human or a potential predator like a lion with a forward kick.
Ostriches usually spend the winter months in pairs or alone and during breeding season and sometimes during extreme rainless periods they live in nomadic ‘herds’ of five to 50 birds led by a top hen.
Territorial fights between males for a harem of two to seven females usually last just minutes, but they can easily cause death through slamming their heads into opponents.
Ostriches perform a complex mating ritual consisting of the cock alternating wing beats until he attracts a mate, when they will go to the mating area and he will drive away all intruders. They graze until their behaviour is synchronized, then the feeding becomes secondary and the process takes on a ritualistic appearance. The cock will then excitedly flap alternate wings again, and start poking on the ground with his bill. He will then violently flap his wings to symbolically clear out a nest in the dirt. Then, while the hen runs circle around him with lowered wings, he will wind his head in a spiral motion. She will drop to the ground and he will mount for copulation.
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