Ostriches are one of the largest birds in the bird’s category but don’t fly because they lack a bone through which flight muscles are attached. Another reason that makes them flightless is their size. Ostrich lives in a dry climate, mainly in Africa, as they are adapted to bear hot weather and can maintain their body temperature.
You must read the ostrich facts where you’ll find that they are better than other birds because of their incredible speed and physical features like they have the biggest eyes, strong legs, lay the biggest eggs, etc. though they can’t fly but still outrun their predator and can kill them with their kicks.
Mainly, there is only one ostrich species, the African ostrich, with a further four subspecies, but few claim Somali Ostrich is a separate species. Four subspecies of African ostrich are North African Ostrich, South African Ostrich, Maasai Ostrich, and Somali Ostrich. Arabian Ostrich is also one of the subspecies of African Ostrich that was extinct years ago.
Let’s discuss these subspecies more deeply, so read till the end if you want to know more about the types of ostriches.
Ostrich Scientific Classification Of African Ostrich
African ostriches, also known as Common ostriches, live in the desert and drylands of Africa. They are ratites, a group of flightless birds like kiwi and emus. Their species name is Struthio Camelus. Here, Camelus means camel-like because they have numerous traits resembling camels, like they live in drylands, live without water for days, and survive in hot weather.
Common Name — Ostrich
Kingdom — Animalia
Phylum — Chordata
Class — Aves
Order — Struthioniformes
Family — Struthionidae
Genus — Struthio Linnaeus
Species — Struthio Camelus
Some of the characteristics that are common in all the species are as follow;
One of the most common features of these birds is their size; all of them are large and heavy. They are the largest ones; though different subspecies’ height varies, they are still larger than other birds. They can run at 43 miles per hour with their strong legs.
Long Legs With Two Toes
Ostriches have long flexible legs with two toes to achieve the speed of 43 miles per hour. Legs are a natural weapon to kill some of the strongest predators, like lions, in a single kick. Toes have a soft base that helps them run faster without getting injured by small pebbles.
Found In Group
They are found in a group of 5 to 6 members each, among which females are in large numbers. It’s rare to see a group of ostriches comprising 50 members.
They don’t have feathers on their neck, and their neck covers half of their height.
Ostrich eyes’ are the biggest among land-living animals, having a diameter of 2 inches. Their eyes are covered with long eyelashes, which protect them from sand storms.
South African Ostriches
Scientific Name: Struthio camelus australis
South African Ostriches, also known as black-necked ostrich or cap ostrich, are found in the southern part of Africa, mainly in Zambezi and Cunene rivers. People bred them for their meat, eggs, and feathers as they are quiet and calm compared to other ostriches. They eat lush green grass and stay in small groups. They could become harmful if provoked or the females are threatened. They protect their fellows if they detect danger and can kick you if you’re trying to get closer.
North African Ostriches
Scientific Name: Struthio camelus camelus
North African Ostriches are the widespread subspecies of an ostrich but not now. They are also known as red neck ostrich or Barbary ostrich and were found in around 18 countries like Ethiopia, Sudan, Senegal, Egypt, and Morocco. They are known as the close relative of the Arabian ostrich. But later, they became endangered and were limited to some North African countries. They are the largest subspecies having 9 feet in height and weighing more than 300 pounds. They have a pink neck and are commonly known to kill a lion with their kick.
Scientific Name: Struthio camelus massaicus
Maasai ostrich, also known as pink neck ostrich or East African ostrich, is found in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Its neck and legs have a pink color; the males color brightens during mating season to attract females. They are the second-largest because the North African ostrich still holds the first position.
Maasai ostriches’ mating season starts in May or June, during which the male’s color intensifies. Their eggs are white and larger; eggs hatching begins in October and November. They are primarily herbivores because they rarely eat animals.
Scientific Name: Struthio camelus syriacus
Arabian ostriches, also known as Syrian ostriches, were found in the Arabian peninsula, but they became extinct in 1941. They were almost the same as North African Ostrich but slightly smaller. The reason behind their extinction was the increasing temperature of the Arabian peninsula and the use of weapons, which led to the increased hunting of these birds because they could easily escape arrows before firearms.
Scientific Name: Struthio molybdophanes
Somali ostrich was also known as the blue-necked ostrich, which was first known as the subspecies of Common Ostrich but later, they were known as a separate species. Their neck skin is blue, which brightens during mating season, while tail feathers are white. They are smaller and weigh around 200 pounds. It’s found in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. They prefer to graze in dense vegetation from where they can escape from their predators.
Which type of ostriches are still alive?
All the subspecies of ostriches are alive except Arabian Ostriches; they went extinct in 1941.
Do all the ostriches reside in Africa?
At an early age, ostriches used to roam in Africa, Asia, and the Arabian, but now they are only limited to Africa due to overhunting and increased temperature.
What is the main difference between these subspecies?
Distinguishing different types of ostrich is easier as some of them have specific colors like South Africans are black-necked, Masaai is pink-necked, and Somalians are blue-necked. You can also identify them depending on their height and weight.
There is a single species of the ostrich which has four subspecies living in different regions among which some have height difference while some have colors. Only Arabian Ostriches are extinct till now, and the most common are North African ostriches.