|Conservation status||Least concern|
The ostrich (Struthio camelus) is a ratite flightless bird, the sole species of the family Struthionidae, and the largest living bird.
The ostrich is extremely large; males stand roughly 8 feet tall and weigh close to 350 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, weighing in at 240 pounds while standing just over 6 feet tall. Legs are massive and bare of feathers, and end in two-toed feet. Head and neck are sparsely covered with down and small, bristle-like feathers. Plumage on the body is black on males, brown on females, with the exception of white tail feathers and wingtips.
- Struthio camelus australis; southern Africa.
- Struthio camelus camelus; sahel area of North Africa and the Sudan.
- Struthio camelus massaicus; southern Kenya, eastern Tanzania.
- Struthio camelus molybdophanes; horn of Africa to northern Kenya.
- Struthio camelus syriacus; southwest Asia (Syrian and Arabian deserts; extinct 1966).
Some authorities have determined that S. molybdophanes should be split from S. camelus as a distinct species, based on coloration and genetic differences.
Man posted the most serious threat to ostriches, with the millinery industry during the 19th century nearly driving the birds to extinction due to the demand for feathers in ladies fashions. Proper management - as well as ostrich farming - have allowed the wild birds to flourish to the point where they are not considered threatened. Livestock grazing however, may affect the birds' habitats and restrict their range, while the subspecies S. c. molybdophanes has been listed as "vulnerable" by the ICUN, in part due to the need for sustenance and cash as a result of the political and religious unrest in the horn of Africa. Another subspecies, S. c. syriacus, became extinct through over-hunting.