Come and see our very own 'Big Bird', brought to you by the letter ‘O’.

Completely flightless, the ostrich is by far the largest and definitely the heaviest living bird on the planet.

It can be found in the desert and savanna areas of central and southern Africa.

As humans we have had a long and rich history with these iconic birds going back over 5000 years. This is due to their feathers. Records show that ancient Egyptians would trade them.

They're nomadic creatures, meaning they wander from place to place. They live in groups of anywhere between five and 50 individuals.

Ostrich have no teeth, so they need to swallow pebbles to crush their food up. A fully grown adult ostrich might be carrying a kilogram of stones in their stomach.


Although listed as least concern, their numbers are declining. In fact, there are farming and protection measures in place.

Ostrich questions and answers

How long does it take to boil an ostrich egg?
50 minutes for a dippy and a whopping two hours for hard-boiled. Best get the pan on!

Do ostriches bury their heads in the sand?
*Spoiler alert* - no they don’t. If they did, they would suffocate. If they sense danger and cannot run, they actually lie on the ground and remain as still as possible. Because their head and necks are pale coloured they blend in with the sand, so from a distance it looks like they’ve ‘buried their head in the sand'.

What do ostriches eat?
Their diet consists mostly of plants but they will eat invertebrates (insects, worms and slugs...yum!).

How fast can an ostrich run?
They can reach a speedy 43mph.

Do they have nests?
They do. Not in trees though, but on the ground and they are huge; up to 3m across. They are actually called ‘scrapes’, as this describes the way in which it’s created by the female.

Zoo Membership

We're proud to be members of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Our membership means we share knowledge with leading zoos across the UK and Europe, and we learn from them too.