Ostrich in exhibit

Ostrich

Scientific Name

Struthio camelus

Class

Aves

Order

Struthioniformes

Range

Central and southern Africa

Habitat

Savannas, shrublands, and deserts

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
Ostrich in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

As the largest living bird species, ostriches can reach up to nine feet tall and weigh up to 285 pounds. They have a black chest and wings; a white underside; and a long, bare neck and legs. Because of their large size, ostriches are unable to fly. They primarily feed on seeds and plants but also eat insects and meat abandoned by predators. Ostriches live in grazing groups of up to 50 birds. During breeding season, males compete for mates by establishing and defending territories. Females lay their eggs in holes scraped into the ground.

Interesting Fact 1

Ostriches are the world's fastest birds on land. Their long legs enable them to run up to 40 miles per hour.

Interesting Fact 2

They can survive without drinking water for long stretches of time, instead gaining moisture from various plants.

Interesting Fact 3

Their eggs, the largest found in nature, can weigh up to three pounds.

Animal Care staff working with seal

Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care. 

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Two Chilean flamingos in exhibit

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Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

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The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy.  

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Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

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