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The ostrich is the largest and heaviest bird that is alive today (there were many bigger birds that lived in earlier time). Although it cannot fly, the ostrich is also the fastest-running bird today; it can run up to about 43 mph (70 kph). It can outrun most predators, but can also kick to protect itself; another strategy against threats is to crouch close to the ground to camouflage itself.

These social birds live in in nomadic (wandering) groups of 5 to 50 birds. Ostriches have a life span of up to 40 years in captivity. Ostriches are farmed for their meat, leather, and feathers. The scientific name of this bird is Struthio camelus (genus and species).

Anatomy: The ostrich can grow up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall and weighs up to 345 pounds (156 kg). The ostrich also has the biggest eyeballs of any bird alive today; each eyeball is 2 inches (5 cm) across. It has a long neck that allows it to see predators from far away. The ostrich has tiny, almost useless wings. The legs are long and powerful; there are two toes on each foot. The fluffy feathers are black, white, and brown, which helps camouflage (hide) this large bird in its habitat.

Eggs: The ostrich lays the biggest egg in the world; ostrich eggs are 4.5 x 7 inches (11 x 18 cm) across and weigh 3 pounds (1400 g). One ostrich egg is equivalent in volume to two dozen chicken eggs. The nest is a shallow hole in the ground.

Diet: Ostriches eat mostly plants, but also eat insects, fruits, seeds, nuts, and some small animals (including lizards). The ostrich gets most of its water from the food it eats (it will drink when it finds water, but only needs to drink every few days).

Habitat: This bird is native to the dry savannas of Africa and is well adapted to desert life.

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