Ugandan common ostrich

The Ugandan common ostrich is the largest flightless bird native to Africa’s savanna area. The scientific name is struthio camelus, a member of genus struthio. In Uganda, this flightless bird lives in Kidepo valley national park. The Ugandan common ostrich has a long neck and legs with a 2 toes on each foot with a nail on the inner toe like a hoof. The head of the common ostrich is almost bare. The adult male has black with patches of white feathers while the female and young male is grayish-brown and white. It has the largest eye compared to other land mammals. Therefore the hearing and eyesight is excellent. Female ostrich weighs about 100 kg while the male weighs about 115 kg; although exceptional male ostrich can weigh up to 156.8 kg.

Ugandan common ostrich

About the Ugandan common ostrich

The Ugandan common ostrich is also the fastest running land bird. It runs up to a speed of 70 km/h in a single stride. The common ostrich is omnivore with a diet that consists of grass, fruits, flower and insects. It is a diurnal bird that is active in the morning and late in the day.

Ugandan common ostrich lives nomadic herds of  5 to 50 birds led by a dominant male and hen. The herd often travels with other grazing animals like zebras, giraffes and antelopes. These animals usually alert them of any danger. The dominant male fight for a harem of 2 to 7 females. The dominant male also defends the territory in case of trouble through a loud and deep warning call. The predators include lions, cheetahs, warthogs, spotted hyena as well as Egyptian vultures.

Ugandan common ostrich breeding season starts with a courtship dance by the male to attract a dominant hen. After mating with the dominant hen, the male will also mate with other females in the herd. Then the females lay their eggs in the communal nest that is made by the male although the dominant female lays has first and covers them for incubation. The dominant hen incubates the eggs during the day while the dominant male incubates them at night. Incubation period takes between 35 to 45 days. Both the male and female take care of the hatching. They mature between 2 to 4 years old. The life span of a Ugandan common ostrich is 40 to 45 years in the wild.

While on a Uganda wildlife safari to Kidepo valley national park look out for the Ugandan common ostrich during the game drive in the vast wilderness park.