The ostriches are a family, Struthionidae, of flightless birds. Ostriches first appeared during the Miocene epoch, though various Paleocene, Eocene and Oligocene fossils may also belong to the family.[5][6] Ostriches are classified in the ratite group of birds, all extant species of which are flightless, including the kiwis, emus, and rheas. Traditionally the order Struthioniformes contained all the ratites. However, recent genetic analysis has found that the group is not monophyletic, as it is paraphyletic with respect to the tinamous, so the ostriches are classified as the only members of the order.[7][8] There are two extant species of ostrich, the common ostrich and Somali ostrich, both in the genus Struthio, which also contains several species known from Holocene fossils such as the Asian ostrich. The common ostrich is the largest living bird species, and other ostriches are among the largest bird species ever.

Temporal range: Miocene-Holocene 23–0 Ma
Possible Paleogene taxa.
Ostriches cape point cropped
Common ostrich (Struthio camelus), male and female
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Struthioniformes
Latham, 1790
Family: Struthionidae
Vigors, 1825[1]
Type species
Struthio camelus
Linnaeus, 1758


  • †Struthiolithidae Vjalov 1971
  • †Palaeotididae Houde & Haubold 1987


The earliest fossils of ostrich-like birds are Paleocene taxa from Europe.[9] Palaeotis and Remiornis from the Middle Eocene and unspecified ratite remains are known from the Eocene and Oligocene of Europe and Africa. These may have been early relatives of the ostriches but their status is questionable, and they may in fact represent multiple lineages of flightless paleognaths.[9][10] The African Eremopezus, when not considered a basal secretarybird or shoebill, is sometimes considered an ostrich relative or an "aepyornithid-like" taxon.[10] Apart from these enigmatic birds, the fossil record of the ostriches continues with several species of the modern genus Struthio which are known from the Early Miocene onwards. Several of these fossil forms are ichnotaxa (that is, classified according to the organism's footprints or other trace rather than its body) and their association with those described from distinctive bones is contentious and in need of revision pending more good material.[11] While the relationship of the African fossil species is comparatively straightforward, a large number of Asian species of ostrich have been described from fragmentary remains, and their interrelationships and how they relate to the African ostriches are confusing. In China, ostriches are known to have become extinct only around or even after the end of the last ice age; images of ostriches have been found there on prehistoric pottery and petroglyphs.[12][13][14]

Ostriches have co-existed with another lineage of flightless didactyl birds, the eogruids. Though Olson 1985 classified these birds as stem-ostriches, they are otherwise universally considered to be related to cranes, any similarities being the result of convergent evolution. Competition from ostriches has been suggested to have caused the extinction of the eogruids,[15][16] though this has never been tested and both groups do co-exist in some sites.[17]


Order Struthioniformes Latham 1790 (ostriches)

  • Family Struthionidae Vigors 1825
    • Genus ?†Palaeotis Lambrecht 1928
    • Genus ?†Remiornis Lemoine, 1881
    • Genus ?†Eremopezus Andrews, 1904
      • Eremopezus eocaenus Andrews, 1904
    • Genus Struthio Linnaeus 1758 (Early Miocene – Recent)
      • ?†S. anderssoni Lowe 1931 [ootaxa]
      • ?†S. barbarus Arambourg 1979
      • ?†S. daberasensis Pickford, Senut & Dauphin 1995
      • ?†S. epoasticus Bonaparte
      • ?†S. kakesiensis Harrison & Msuya 2005 [ootaxa]
      • ?†S. karingarabensis Senut, Dauphin & Pickford 1998 [ootaxa]
      • S. chersonensis Brandt 1873
      • S. asiaticus Brodkorb 1863 (Asian ostrich)
      • S. coppensi Mourer-Chauviré et al. 1996
      • S. dmanisensis Burchak-Abramovich & Vekua 1990 (giant ostrich)
      • S. mongolicus [ootaxa] (Inner Mongolia)[18]
      • S. oldawayi Lowe 1933
      • S. transcaucasicus Burchak-Abramovich & Vekua 1971
      • S. wimani Lowe 1931
      • S. molybdophanes Reichenow 1883 (Somali ostrich)
      • S. camelus Linnaeus 1758

Distribution and habitat

Somali ostrich
A male Somali ostrich in a Kenyan savanna, showing its blueish neck

Today ostriches are only found natively in the wild in Africa, where they occur in a range of open arid and semi-arid habitats such as savannas and the Sahel, both north and south of the equatorial forest zone.[19] The Somali ostrich occurs in the Horn of Africa, having evolved isolated from the common ostrich by the geographic barrier of the East African Rift. In some areas, the common ostrich's Masai subspecies occurs alongside the Somali ostrich, but they are kept from interbreeding by behavioral and ecological differences.[20] The Arabian ostriches in Asia Minor and Arabia were hunted to extinction by the middle of the 20th century, and in Israel attempts to introduce North African ostriches to fill their ecological role have failed.[21] Escaped common ostriches in Australia have established feral populations.[22]


  1. ^ Brands, Sheila (14 Aug 2008). "Taxon: Genus Struthio". Project: The Taxonomicon. Retrieved 12 Jun 2012.
  2. ^ Mikko's Phylogeny Archive [1] Haaramo, Mikko (2007). "Paleognathia - paleognathous modern birds". Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  3. ^ Paleofile.com (net, info) [2]. "Taxonomic lists- Aves". Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  4. ^ Brodkob, Pierce (1963). "Catalogue of fossil birds 1- Archaeopterygiformes through Ardeiformes". Biological Sciences, Bulletin of the Florida State Museum. 7 (4): 180–293. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  5. ^ Buffetaut, E.; Angst, D. (November 2014). "Stratigraphic distribution of large flightless birds in the Palaeogene of Europe and its palaeobiological and palaeogeographical implications". Earth-Science Reviews. 138: 394–408. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2014.07.001.
  6. ^ Agnolin et al, Unexpected diversity of ratites (Aves, Palaeognathae) in the early Cenozoic of South America: palaeobiogeographical implications Article in Alcheringa An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology · July 2016 DOI: 10.1080/03115518.2016.1184898
  7. ^ Hackett, S.J. et al. (2008) A Phylogenomic Study of Birds Reveals Their Evolutionary History. Science, 320, 1763.
  8. ^ Yuri, T. (2013) Parsimony and model-based analyses of indels in avian nuclear genes reveal congruent and incongruent phylogenetic signals. Biology, 2:419–44.
  9. ^ a b Buffetaut, E.; Angst, D. (2014). "Stratigraphic distribution of large flightless birds in the Palaeogene of Europe and its palaeobiological and palaeogeographical implications". Earth-Science Reviews. 138: 394–408. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2014.07.001.
  10. ^ a b Agnolin et al, Unexpected diversity of ratites (Aves, Palaeognathae) in the early Cenozoic of South America: palaeobiogeographical implications Article in Alcheringa An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology · July 2016 DOI: 10.1080/03115518.2016.1184898
  11. ^ Bibi, Faysal; Shabel, Alan B.; Kraatz, Brian P.; Stidham, Thomas A. (2006). "New Fossil Ratite (Aves: Palaeognathae) Eggshell Discoveries from the Late Miocene Baynunah Foramation of the United Arab Emirates, Arabian Peninsula" (PDF). Palaeontologia Electronica. 9 (1): 2A. ISSN 1094-8074.
  12. ^ Doar, B.G. (2007) "Genitalia, Totems and Painted Pottery: New Ceramic Discoveries in Gansu and Surrounding Areas". China Heritage Quarterly
  13. ^ Janz, Lisa; et al. (2009). "Dating North Asian surface assemblages with ostrich eggshell: implications for palaeoecology and extirpation". Journal of Archaeological Science. 36 (9): 1982–1989. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2009.05.012.
  14. ^ Andersson, J. G. (1923). "Essays on the cenozoic of northern China". Memoirs of the Geological Survey of China (Peking), Series A. 3: 1–152 (53–77).
  15. ^ Kurochkin, E.N. (1976). "A survey of the Paleogene birds of Asia". Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology. 27: 75–86.
  16. ^ Kurochkin, E.N. (1981). "New representatives and evolution of two archaic gruiform families in Eurasia". Transactions of the Soviet-Mongolian Paleontologial Expedition. 15: 59–85.
  17. ^ Zelenkov, Nikita; Boev, Zlatozar; Lazaridis, Georgios (2015). "A large ergilornithine (Aves, Gruiformes) from the Late Miocene of the Balkan Peninsula". Paläontologische Zeitschrift. 90: 145–151. doi:10.1007/s12542-015-0279-z.
  18. ^ Paleontol.Electr. 9.1.2.A
  19. ^ Donegan, Keenan (2002). "Struthio camelus". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology.
  20. ^ Freitag, Stephanie & Robinson, Terence J. (1993). "Phylogeographic patterns in mitochondrial DNA of the Ostrich (Struthio camelus)" (PDF). The Auk. 110 (3): 614–622. doi:10.2307/4088425. JSTOR 4088425.
  21. ^ Rinat, Zafrir (25 December 2007). "The Bitter Fate of Ostriches in the Wild". Haaretz. Tel Aviv. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  22. ^ Ostriches in Australia – and near my home. trevorsbirding.com (13 September 2007)

Atef is the specific feathered white crown of the ancient Egyptian deity Osiris. It combines the Hedjet, the crown of Upper Egypt, with curly red ostrich feathers on each side of the crown for the Osiris cult. The feathers are identified as ostrich from their curl or curve at the upper ends, with a slight flare toward the base. They are the same feather as (singly) worn by Maat. The crown is also worn by Sobek. They may be compared with the falcon tail feathers in two-feather crowns, such as those of Amun which are more narrow and straight without curve.

The Atef crown identifies Osiris in ancient Egyptian painting. Osiris wears the Atef crown as a symbol of the ruler of the underworld. The tall bulbous white piece in the center of the crown is between two ostrich feathers. The feathers represent truth and justice. The Atef crown is similar, save for the feathers, to the plain white crown (Hedjet) used in the Predynastic Period and later as a symbol for pharaonic Upper Egypt.


Colnbrook is a village in the unitary authority of Slough in Berkshire, England. It lies within the historic boundaries of Buckinghamshire, and straddles two distributaries of the Colne, the Colne Brook and Wraysbury River. These two streams have their confluence just to the southeast of the village. Colnbrook is centred 3 miles (4.8 km) southeast of Slough, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) east of Windsor, and 18 miles (29 km) west of central London.

Colnbrook forms the greater part of the civil parish of Colnbrook with Poyle (see also Poyle). Junctions of the M4 and M25 are near the village. To the east is Longford, London, and Bedfont and Stanwell which abut the south of London Heathrow Airport.

Colnbrook with Poyle is a suburban parish with significant industrial units, logistical premises and open land. The parish was created on 1 April 1995 as an amalgamation of Colnbrook from Iver to the north and the smaller Poyle from an unparished area of Stanwell to the south-east. At the 2011 census the whole civil parish had a population of 6,157 living in 2,533 homes.

Common ostrich

The common ostrich (Struthio camelus), or simply ostrich, is a species of large flightless bird native to Africa. It is one of two extant species of ostriches, the only living members of the genus Struthio in the ratite order of birds. The other is the Somali ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes), which was recognized as a distinct species by BirdLife International in 2014 having been previously considered a very distinctive subspecies of ostrich.The common ostrich shares the order Struthioniformes with the kiwis, emus, rheas, and cassowaries. However, phylogenetic studies have shown that it is the sister group to all other members of Palaeognathae and thus the flighted tinamous are the sister group to the extinct moa. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs, and can run for a long time at a speed of 55 km/h (34 mph) or even up to about 70 km/h (43 mph), the fastest land speed of any bird. The common ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest eggs of any living bird (extinct elephant birds of Madagascar and the giant moa of New Zealand laid larger eggs).

The common ostrich's diet consists mainly of plant matter, though it also eats invertebrates. It lives in nomadic groups of 5 to 50 birds. When threatened, the ostrich will either hide itself by lying flat against the ground, or run away. If cornered, it can attack with a kick of its powerful legs. Mating patterns differ by geographical region, but territorial males fight for a harem of two to seven females.

The common ostrich is farmed around the world, particularly for its feathers, which are decorative and are also used as feather dusters. Its skin is used for leather products and its meat is marketed commercially, with its leanness a common marketing point.

Diepkloof Rock Shelter

Diepkloof Rock Shelter is a rock shelter in Western Cape, South Africa in which has been found some of the earliest evidence of the human use of symbols, in the form of patterns engraved upon ostrich eggshell water containers. These date around 60,000 years ago.The symbolic patterns consist of lines crossed at right angles or oblique angles by hatching. It has been suggested that "by the repetition of this motif, early humans were trying to communicate something. Perhaps they were trying to express the identity of the individual or the group."

Donald's Ostrich

Donald's Ostrich is an animated short film produced in Technicolor by Walt Disney Productions and released to theaters on December 10, 1937 by RKO Radio Pictures. It was the third film in the Donald Duck series of short films, although billed at the time as a Mickey Mouse cartoon. It was the first of the series to be released by RKO.Donald's Ostrich was directed by Jack King and features the voices of Clarence Nash as Donald Duck, Pinto Colvig as Hortense the Ostrich (hiccups), and Elvia Allman and Billy Bletcher as radio voices.

Feather duster

A feather duster is an implement used for cleaning. It consists typically of a wooden-dowel handle and feathers from either the male or female ostrich bird that are wound onto the handle by a wrapped wire. Dusters vary in size but are most often between 14 to 32 inches (36 to 81 cm) in total length. Some dusters have a retractable casing instead of a dowel handle. These dusters are typically used by rack-jobbers and truck drivers who need to dust store shelves, and like to retract the feathers into the handle to avoid damage.

Feather dusters are effective in dusting tight areas, or areas where there are a lot of odds and ends to dust around. The individual feathers are able to penetrate through the knick-knacks and pull the dust out of the area without disturbing items. On large open surfaces or walls, or in trying to get spider webs in the ceiling, either a feather duster or other dusters like lambswool or synthetic dusters will work.

Flightless bird

Flightless birds are birds that through evolution lost the ability to fly. There are over 60 extant species including the well known ratites (ostrich, emu, cassowary, rhea and kiwi) and penguins. The smallest flightless bird is the Inaccessible Island rail (length 12.5 cm, weight 34.7 g). The largest (both heaviest and tallest) flightless bird, which is also the largest living bird, is the ostrich (2.7 m, 156 kg). Ostriches are farmed for their decorative feathers, meat and their skins, which are used to make leather.

Many domesticated birds, such as the domestic chicken and domestic duck, have lost the ability to fly for extended periods, although their ancestral species, the red junglefowl and mallard, respectively, are capable of extended flight. A few particularly bred birds, such as the Broad Breasted White turkey, have become totally flightless as a result of selective breeding; the birds were bred to grow massive breast meat that weighs too much for the bird's wings to support in flight.

Flightlessness has evolved in many different birds independently. There were also other families of flightless birds, such as the now extinct Phorusrhacidae, that evolved to be powerful terrestrial predators. Taking this to a greater extreme, the terror birds (and their relatives the bathornithids), eogruids, geranoidids, gastornithiforms, and dromornithids (all extinct) all evolved similar body shapes – long legs, long necks and big heads – but none of them were closely related. Furthermore, they also share traits of being giant, flightless birds with vestigial wings, long legs, and long necks with some of the ratites, although they are not related.


Matteuccia is a genus of ferns with one species, Matteuccia struthiopteris (common names ostrich fern, fiddlehead fern or shuttlecock fern). The species epithet struthiopteris comes from Ancient Greek words, στρουθίων (strouthíōn) "ostrich" and πτερίς (pterís) "fern".

North African ostrich

The North African ostrich,red-necked ostrich, or Barbary ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) is the nominate subspecies of the common ostrich from West and North Africa. It is the largest subspecies, making it the largest living bird.


The Ornithomimosauria, ornithomimosaurs ("bird-mimic lizards") or ostrich dinosaurs are theropod dinosaurs which bore a superficial resemblance to modern ostriches. They were fast, omnivorous or herbivorous dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period of Laurasia (now Asia, Europe and North America), as well as Africa and possibly Australia. The group first appeared in the Early Cretaceous and persisted until the Late Cretaceous. Primitive members of the group include Nqwebasaurus, Pelecanimimus, Shenzhousaurus, Hexing and Deinocheirus, the arms of which reached 2.4 m (8 feet) in length. More advanced species, members of the family Ornithomimidae, include Gallimimus, Struthiomimus, and Ornithomimus. Some paleontologists, like Paul Sereno, consider the enigmatic alvarezsaurids to be close relatives of the ornithomimosaurs and place them together in the superfamily Ornithomimoidea (see classification below).

Ostrich effect

In behavioral finance, the ostrich effect is the attempt made by investors to avoid negative financial information. The name comes from the common (but false) legend that ostriches bury their heads in the sand to avoid danger.

Originally the term was coined by Galai & Sade (2006), and was defined as "the avoidance of apparently risky financial situations by pretending they do not exist", but since Karlsson, Loewenstein & Seppi (2009) it took the slightly broader meaning of "avoiding to expose oneself to [financial] information that one fear may cause psychological discomfort". For example, in the event of a market downturn, people may choose to avoid monitoring their investments or seeking out further financial news.

Ostrich guitar

The ostrich guitar or ostrich tuning is a type of trivial tuning. It assigns one note to all strings, e.g. E-E-e-e-e'-e' or D-D-D-D-d'-d'. The term "ostrich guitar" was coined by the Velvet Underground's Lou Reed after the pre-Velvet Underground song "The Ostrich"

by Lou Reed and the Primitives, on which he first recorded using this tuning, the first known commercial composition to make use of a trivial guitar tuning.

Ostrich leather

Ostrich leather is the result of tanning skins taken from African ostriches farmed for their feathers, skin and meat. The leather is distinctive for its pattern of bumps or vacant quill follicles, ranged across a smooth field in varying densities. It requires an intricate, specialised and expensive production process making its aesthetic value costly.

Although the first commercial farming began in South Africa in 1850, the industry collapsed after World War I and the drop in demand for the feathers for fashionable hats and military uniforms. Other products were marketed, with each success battered by world events and droughts until now, when ostrich skin is globally available and seen as a luxury item in high-end demand.

Leather came late in the story of ostrich farming but after a tannery was set up onsite, it went on to make an impact in European haute couture and in the U.S. for cowboy boots becoming widespread during the 1970s. Demand peaked in the 1980s. Availability was artificially limited when ostrich leather was subject to a cartel monopoly through trade sanctions, and single export and distribution channels until the end of apartheid in 1993. After that and other factors, the South African government began to export stock allowing other countries to have their own ranches. Although wider production resulted in competition and lower prices, Klein Karoo Group remains the leading global producer.

There were estimated to be just under 500,000 commercially bred ostriches in the world in 2003, with around 350,000 of these in South Africa. Ostrich leather is regarded as an exotic leather product alongside crocodile, snake, lizard, camel, emu among others. Ostrich skins are the largest in terms of volumes traded in the global exotic skins market.

The premium strain of ostrich is the "African Black," which originated on the ranches of South Africa through various forms of selective breeding.


Oudtshoorn (, Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈɵʊtsˌɦʊərən]), the "ostrich capital of the world", is a town in the Western Cape province of South Africa, located between the Swartberg mountains to the north and the Outeniqua Mountains to the south. Two ostrich-feather booms, during 1865–1870 and 1900–1914, truly established the settlement. With approximately 60,000 inhabitants, it is the largest town in the Little Karoo region. The town's economy is primarily reliant on the ostrich farming and tourism industries. Oudtshoorn is home to the world's largest ostrich population, with a number of specialized ostrich breeding farms, such as the Safari Show Farm and the Highgate Ostrich Show Farm.

Bhongolethu is a township 10 km (6 mi) east of Oudtshoorn. Derived from Xhosa, its name means "our pride".

Par (score)

In golf, par is the predetermined number of strokes that a scratch (or 0 handicap) golfer should require to complete a hole, a round (the sum of the pars of the played holes), or a tournament (the sum of the pars of each round). Pars are the central component of stroke play, the most common kind of play in professional golf tournaments. The term is also used in golf-like sports such as disc golf, with the same meaning.

The length of each hole from the tee placement to the pin mostly determines par values for each hole. Almost invariably, holes are assigned par values between three and five strokes, which includes the drive and two putts.

For a casual player from the middle tees, a par-three hole will be 100–250 yards (90–230 m) from the tee to the pin. Par-four holes are 250–470 yards (230–430 m), but tournament players will often encounter par-four holes 500 yards (460 m) or more, as it is common for short par-five holes for normal play to be turned into par-four holes in championship play. Par-five holes are typically 470–600 yards (430–550 m), but in the modern game holes of over 600 yards are becoming more common in championship play. Other relevant factors in setting the par for the hole include the terrain and obstacles (such as trees, water hazards, hills, or buildings) that may require a golfer to take more (or fewer) shots. Some golf courses feature par-sixes and, very rarely, par-sevens, but the latter are not recognised by the United States Golf Association.

Typical championship golf courses have par values of 72, comprising four par-threes, ten par-fours, and four par-fives. Championship course par can be as high as 73 to as low as 69. Most 18-hole courses not designed for championships have a par close to 72, but some will be lower. Courses with par above 73 are rare. Courses built on relatively small parcels of land will often be designed as "Par-3 Courses" in which every hole (or almost every hole) is a par-three (for a total par of 54 or slightly higher over 18 holes).

Prince of Wales's feathers

The Prince of Wales's feathers is the heraldic badge of the Prince of Wales. It consists of three white ostrich feathers emerging from a gold coronet. A ribbon below the coronet bears the motto Ich dien (German: [ɪç ˈdiːn], "I serve"). As well as being used in royal heraldry, the badge is sometimes used to symbolise Wales, particularly in Welsh rugby union and Welsh regiments of the British Army.

Somali ostrich

The Somali ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes), also known as the blue-necked ostrich, is a large flightless bird native to the Horn of Africa. It was previously considered a subspecies of the common ostrich, but was identified as a distinct species in 2014.

USS Ostrich (AMS-29)

USS Ostrich (MSC(O)-29/AMS-29/YMS-430) was a YMS-1-class minesweeper of the YMS-135 subclass built for the United States Navy during World War II. She was the third U.S. Navy ship to be named for the ostrich.

USS Ostrich (AMc-51)

USS Ostrich (AMc-51) was an Accentor-class coastal minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy.

It was the second ship to be named Ostrich by the Navy, and was laid down 6 February 1941, by the Herreschoff Mfr. Co. Bristol, Rhode Island; launched 29 March 1941 and placed in service 14 July 1941.

Birds (class: Aves)
Fossil birds
Human interaction

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