Ostrich Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Ostriches are some of the most interesting birds you'll ever know. This lesson will teach you some cool facts about ostriches, and you'll learn about how big they grow, how they live and what they eat.

What Is an Ostrich?

Imagine you are out on the savanna of Africa. In the distance, you see a large, dark shape running at you, and it's coming faster and faster! As it gets closer, you can see it more clearly! It has two strong legs, wings and feathers. It's a bird, but not just any bird--it's an ostrich!

An ostrich is the largest living bird. They can grow up to 9 feet tall and weigh as much as 350 pounds! Males typically have black and white feathers, and females generally have brown feathers.

Male ostrich with black and white feathers.
Male Ostrich with Black and White Feathers

Ostriches are flightless, meaning they can't fly. They're too big and heavy to take flight, but they do use their wings to help balance while running. In fact, running is one thing ostriches do very well! They have two strong legs that were made for speed and can run about 31 miles per hour for a long time. If they're in a hurry, they can run short distances up to 43 miles per hour!

They will run from a predator, but they can also fight with their powerful legs. In fact, an ostrich kick can kill a lion!

Some people say that ostriches bury their heads in the sand when they're scared, but this isn't true--their heads aren't actually in the ground. When unable to run from or kick a predator, an ostrich will crouch down and lay its head and neck flat on the ground in an attempt to hide.

Bigger is Better!

Ostriches live together in groups and lay their eggs in one big nest that holds around 60 eggs. It's a good thing the nest is big, because ostrich eggs are about 6 inches long, 5 inches wide and weigh about 3 pounds. It would take around 24 chicken eggs to fill one ostrich egg! When baby ostriches hatch, they're the biggest of all baby birds--a baby ostrich can be as big as a full-grown chicken!

Ostrich egg
Woman holding an Ostrich Egg

They continue growing to become the biggest of all adult birds. They have the largest eyes of all land animals, measuring 2 inches across and protected by long eyelashes. Those big eyes give them great eyesight, which is helpful for looking out for predators and finding food.

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