The ostrich is far more than just a prehistoric-looking bird found in Africa that was never able to fly. From their lifespan to their diet, breeding habits and beyond, here are a few more interesting things you might not have known about the world’s largest bird…

They can live a pretty long time

The average lifespan of an ostrich in the wild ranges between 30 and 40 years. This is rather impressive when you consider their size and their inability to fly.

They’re omnivores

Although mainly vegetarian and feasting on leaves, seeds, flowers and roots, ostriches will eat smaller creatures too. This includes the likes of lizards and insects that they come across in their grassland, savannah and open woodland habitats. You’ll often find them near other grazing animals like zebra and antelopes as grazers stir up insects and rodents and ostriches take advantage. In return, the tall ostriches alert the grazers to looming danger like predators who might be approaching.

The world’s largest bird

Towering up to a staggering 2.7m tall, an ostrich can weigh as much as 159kg. Known for its long bare neck and equally long legs, an ostrich can use these legs as self-defence. With a kick powerful enough to kill and a ten-centimetre long sharp claw on each of its two-toed feet, a strike from an ostrich is a deadly one.

Male or female? 

Males and females can be identified by their plumage. Males have black feathers and a white tail, with the females being mostly brown.

On the run

Sure, they can’t fly but they can certainly run. With up to 5m being covered by a single stride and reaching speeds of over 70km an hour, an ostrich is rather speedy. Luckily, it makes use of its short wings for balance.

Breeding habits

When it’s time to breed, the alpha male of every herd makes a nest in the ground and attracts females by dancing. After securing a mate and mating with her, the hen will lay their eggs in the nest. Each egg measures around 15cm long and weighs up to 1.5kg, making them the largest eggs in the world. The main female of the herd could lay up to 11 eggs whilst other hens lay around 2 to 6 eggs. The alpha male and dominant female then go to work incubating the eggs, taking turns… a wonderful example of co-parenting. To catch a glimpse of the ostrich in the wild, why not book your stay at Nambiti Hills Private Game? Enjoy the ultimate luxury safari complete with memorable sightings and world-class cuisine when you contact our reservations team today on +27 (0)31 333 6723 or To view and take advantage of our latest specials, please click here: