the ostrich is native to more than 25 African countries.
In Uganda,the ostrich is found in kidepo valley national park
This park is located northeast in the pearl of Africa
its scientifically called struthio camelus
the ostrich is the largest bird on earth and flightless.
it has a very long flexible neck about 1meter long and can turn in all directions
its leg is about 1.29 meters high
its the fastest bird on land with about 70km/hr
a female ostrich lays 15 eggs a month, which is 1 egg every 2days
it lays eggs during the dry months of the year usually during February and June
their eggs are very big to 15cm and 1.5kg heavy.
the male ostrich(cocks or roosters) digs a hole in wide 1ft deep,
then fills it with sand and then the female(hens) lays eggs in it
this sand generates warmth for incubation till they hatch
the female ostrich incubates eggs during day and the male during the night.
the male is dark and cannot easily be seen by predators at night,
there by taking on the role to protect the nest.
incubation takes 35 to 45 days
the hatchlings weigh between 1kg to 1.2kg making the biggest and heaviest chick of any bird.
they start moving from the nest following their parents
if they are in a group, they are called a brood,
when this group grows to adult hood, it becomes a herd
they are taught to feed by both the male and female.
they also protect them from predators
the old ostriches are also vulnerable to predators and can run to escape
they have large eyes about 5cm across allowing them to see an enemy in a long distance.
they also kick with their powerful long legs when defending themselves
they are preyed on by lions, leopards,hyenas,cheetahs
this bird ranges between 1.7 to 2.8 meters high and weighs up to 160kg
they are found in savanna areas,some deserts and semi arid area.
they don’t have teeth and therefore swallow pebbles to grind their food.
it can have a kilo gram of stones at any time.
it can go days without water and uses moisture from swallowed foods but takes water when available.
they live a nomadic lifestyle, very active in morning hours and late in evening,
they seek shade during the hot afternoon hours,
ostriches are omnivorous birds feeding on plants, snakes,lizards,rats,and so many insects
keep in groups of 30, 40 or more being protected by the males.
they can live 30 to 40 years but under captivity can go to even 70 years
they are farmed today in some places and those in the wild face hunting for their eggs, skin, feathers
this has greatly reduced their numbers and the increasing human population pushing people to encroach on their habitats also makes them vulnerable to extinction.
therefore, there’s need for increased conservation of this bird and general wildlife conservation awareness
By Kennedy Migadde Blick.