The ostrich is the largest species of bird on the planet, with males reaching standing heights in excess of 9 feet and weights greater than 300 pounds! The ostrich also produces the largest egg of any bird, with eggs weighing approximately 3 pounds. Male ostrich have primarily black plumage (feathers), and female ostrich will have grey plumage. The male will also develop pink pigmentation on the beak and legs during the breeding season. Ostrich feed primarily upon grasses, seeds, fruits, and flower in the arid savannas and grasslands that they inhabit in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Africa.
Ostrich are not able to fly and are the fastest running birds, reaching speeds of up to 43 miles per hour. Ostrich do not bury their heads in the sand as is a popular misconception. It is believed that individuals saw ostrich feeding off the ground from a distance and hypothesized that they bury their heads in the sand. Ostrich are most commonly observed as pairs in the wild outside of the breeding season, but they may come together to form groups of up to 100 individuals during the breeding season.
At the zoo we take care of a pair of ostrich, that are fed a special ostrich diet pellet as well as corn and crushed oyster shell. The ostrich enjoy water misters, small pools, and fresh sand to bathe in for enrichment.