These guys are just bananas. I mean, seriously, how is an ostrich even a thing in the world? They are so. . .strange. They’re also, sadly, kind of stupid, which makes them easy to laugh at.
I mentioned in an earlier post that they’re difficult for me to photograph – thanks to those tiny heads. But during our travels in the Transfrontier Park I was able to snap some decent shots of them, including of this amazing ostrich fight, so I thought they earned their own Beasts of Botswana post.
They are, of course, the world’s largest flightless bird. They have the largest eyes of any land animal and they can run like nobody’s business – sprinting at 70km/hr but also managing to run 50km/hr for up to 30 minutes if they have to. What?! They generally prefer to run away, and will sometimes preemptively run away from the truck even when we’re a long way off, but they can attack if they’re cornered – they can kill a hyena with a kick of their legs, which end in a spiked inner claw.
Steve read that they make a sound like a lion, and that people who think they hear lions are actually hearing ostriches!
We were lucky enough to see not only male and female ostriches in TFP, but also ostrich chicks! They were adorable, as all baby animals are. Amazingly, the chicks are reared by the major hen in a flock and the male, even though many females in the flock might lay eggs. Those that don’t belong to the major hen are rolled out of the nest and left for hyenas and jackals. Crazily, if a family of ostriches, like the one we saw, comes in contact with another family of ostriches, the adults will fight and the winning pair will adopt the chicks of the losing pair into their own group. Lonely Planet says that, occasionally, an especially badass pair of ostriches (ok, I added that part myself) can adopt up to 300 chicks in this way.
Like I said, these guys are bananas.