Ostriches are the largest living birds in the world. A male ostrich stands between 1, 8 and 2,7 tall at maturity, while females will range between 1,7 and 2 m tall. Ostrich chicks grow about 25 cm per month for the first year and weigh about 45 kg at 12 months of age. Adults usually weigh between 68 and 150 kgs. Domesticated ostriches reach maturity at 2 to 3 years of age and females mature about 6 months earlier than males. Ostriches normally live from 30 to 70 years in captivity.
Even though ostriches are flightless birds, their wings are surprisingly strong. They use their wings for aggressive display and courtship rituals. Males have contrasting bright white and black plumage, while females’ plumage is grey and drab. Their lead-blue skin color usually becomes scarlet over the beak, on the forehead and around the eyes during the mating season.
The normal body temperature range of the ostrich is between 39 and 40 degrees Centigrade . During hot weather ostriches lift and fan their wings, while during cold weather they cover their thighs with their wings. The ostrich is the only bird to have only two toes on each foot. Ostriches are fast runners, and their first instinct upon being frightened is to run. They can cover between 5 to 7 m per stride and maintain speeds between 48 and 80 km per hour for 30 minutes.
The breeding season for ostriches begins in March and April and can last until September. Breeding season length largely depends on food availability, bird condition and weather. Shortly after mating, the female will lay between 12 and 15 eggs. Generally, females will lay an egg every other day. An inadequate diet may result in less egg production. Ostrich eggs are the largest of all eggs and weigh about 1,2 kg. The content of one ostrich egg is equivalent to two dozen chicken eggs.