red necked ostrich

Struthio camelus ssp. camelus

Common name

red necked ostrich


It occupies deserts and savannahs in North Africa.








42-46 days

Number of offspring





It feeds mainly on grasses, hard stems, seeds, flowers and fruits, occasionally also on carrion, insects and small vertebrates.


40 years

Biology and behavior

Ostriches are the largest living birds that exist. Specifically, the red-necked ostrich, which is one of the four existing subspecies, is the most robust and best tolerates the lack of water.

However, there are many characteristics that all subspecies share. All of them are flightless birds with a flat sternum lacking a keel and adapted to running. To do this, they have reduced the number of their fingers to two, reducing the contact surface, to increase their speed. The inner toe provides the momentum in broad strides, allowing them to reach speeds of up to 65 km/h. In addition, it is equipped with a strong, flat claw, a weapon that males use in their spectacular nuptial fights. On the other hand, its wings, too small to take flight, allow it to maintain balance during races.

All of them also present sexual dimorphism, that is, at first glance we can differentiate males and females, in the case of ostriches, due to the color of their feathers. The females with brown feathers blend in with the colors of the savanna, which allows them to incubate the clutch during the day without being easily detected by their predators, while the males, with black and white plumage, blend in more easily at night. so they incubate during the hours of darkness.

Unfortunately, the situation of the red-necked ostrich is more worrying than that of the other subspecies since it has experienced a rapid decline in the last 50 years due to hunting, both for its feathers and meat, collection of their eggs and the loss of their habitat, leaving only a few specimens scattered throughout several countries in North Africa. However, in the IUCN Red List, when all subspecies are grouped as Struthio camelus, it continues to appear as “Least Concern”.


In this subspecies, the color of the neck and legs of the males is reddish-pink, acquiring a more intense hue during the mating season.

Despite the legend, it is false that ostriches hide their heads in the sand when faced with danger, instead, they flee, or face the enemy using their powerful legs as defense.

They sometimes form defensive associations with herds of ruminants, in which the ostrich's sight and the smell and hearing of these animals combine to avoid predators.

African savanna
Equatorial jungle
Madagascar Island