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Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-10-13
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/200 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2010-12-04 1:24
Viewed: 5381
Points: 66
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Ostrich / Struthio camelus

The Ostrich is the 32nd in the series of the birds of the Kruger National Park, which I am currently sharing. Enjoy!

These birds must be one of the most well known birds on planet earth due to its long neck, comical facial features, big eyes and long eye lashes. It is however one of those we are always on the look out for when we are in the Kruger National Park and when we find them we really get excited, especially when we find a couple with their young ones walking side by side. Unfortunately, this year we only saw babies on one occasion, but they where not close enough to photograph.

The largest and heaviest of all living birds, the ostrich is instantly recognisable, with its long, bare neck, large body and long, sturdy legs. Despite its relatively small head, it is also notable for having the largest eyes of any land animal, measuring an impressive five centimetres in diameter, and protected by long black lashes. The adult male ostrich has black plumage, with a white tail and primary feathers, and a bright pinkish or blue neck in the breeding season. The female is smaller and is grey-brown in colour, while immature birds resemble the female, but are slightly darker. Four subspecies are recognised, differing mainly in the neck colour and legs of the male, and in the amount of feathering on the head.

Not needed for flight, the ostrich's feathers are unusual in that they lack the tiny hooks that hold the feather together, so leaving the barbs (the 'branches' of the feather) loose, and giving a very soft, smooth plumage. The ostrich is also the only bird to have just two toes on each rather prehistoric-looking foot. The inner toe is thick and strong, adapted for running, and is armed with a formidable, ten centimetres long claw, which can be used in defence. The ostrich has quite an extensive vocal repertoire, using a variety of whistles, snorts and guttural noises to communicate, as well as other sounds such as bill-snapping. The male also produces a loud "booming" call, which sounds rather like the roar of a lion and is produced during display, or at night when a predator is near.

Although it has now been lost from much of its original range, the ostrich occurs across much of Africa, and has also been introduced to southern Australia.

This species occupies a variety of open, semi-arid plains, from desert to savanna, as well as open woodland.

The ostrich's long, powerful legs allow it to look over the top of tall vegetation when scanning for predators, and also to cover great distances in search of food. The fastest runner of any bird, it can reach up to 70 kilometres per hour in short sprints, with strides of 3-5 metres in length, more than compensating for its lack of flight. It is also able to outpace most mammals in terms of stamina, capable of running at up to 50 kilometres per hour for 30 minutes or more.

The diet of the ostrich includes grasses, seeds and leaves, as well as flowers, fruit and roots. The leaves, flowers and fruits of succulent plants are important in drier areas, and some insects and small vertebrates may also be taken. Ostriches typically feed in groups, browsing close to the ground.

The breeding season and strategy of the ostrich vary with location. Where food is scarce, breeding pairs tend to be monogamous, but elsewhere breeding groups usually form, consisting of a territorial male together with a main or "major" hen and several secondary, "minor” hens. At the start of the breeding season, the male scrapes out a nest, a mere depression in the ground, and then attempts to attract females using an elaborate courtship display, which involves dropping to the ground, opening the wings and tail, shaking each wing alternately, and moving the tail up and down, while swaying the head and neck from side to side. The male will then approach the female with the wings open and the brightly coloured neck puffed out, while stamping the feet.

After mating, the main female lays up to 11 creamy white eggs, while the other females lay around 2 to 6 eggs each, in the same nest, and may also lay eggs in other nests. The egg of the ostrich is the largest in the world, although relatively small in relation to the size of the bird, at around 16 centimetres in length and 1.5 kilograms in weight, with a 2 millimetre thick shell. Incubation is performed only by the male and the main female, and lasts between 42 and 46 days. Any surplus eggs which the pair cannot cover are pushed out of the nest by the female, who is somehow able to recognise and retain her own, leaving about 20 eggs in total. The young are buff-coloured with black lines and specks, and leave the nest within the first three days. The pair may sometimes take chicks from other broods, and large crèches often form, escorted by one or more adults. The adult birds may attack potential predators when defending the young, and have even been reported to kill lions with a kick. The young ostriches fledge at 4-5 months and are fully grown by about 18 months, reaching sexual maturity after 3-4 years and potentially living for up to 30-40 years.

Although still relatively abundant, and not considered globally threatened, the ostrich has decreased in numbers and range in recent times. The feathers and eggs have long been used by humans, but a fashion for using ostrich feathers for hats in the 19th Century, together with widespread egg-collection and hunting for meat and skin in the 20th Century, almost exterminated the species from northern and southern Africa. Habitat destruction, mostly in the form of overgrazing, has also greatly reduced the species’ range, and is currently considered the main threat.

International trade in the ostrich is strictly controlled under its listing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Commercial ostrich farming, for feathers, meat and skins, has long been established in South Africa, and has since spread to many other countries. Today, ostrich farming is a growing industry, and considered among the most profitable agricultural projects. Indeed, a number of European and North American beef farmers have recently switched to raising ostriches commercially because of the greater and faster financial returns, and ostrich meat is considered a good alternative to other kinds of meat, being high in protein but low in fat and cholesterol. In some areas, ostriches are also raced for sport. However, despite its increasing presence in captivity, this impressive and unmistakable bird may need further conservation action in the wild if its populations are to remain secure. Source

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

marius-secan, jlinaresp, KOMSIS, fransswanepoel, anemone, Luis52, Pitoncle, zulfu, albert, maaciejka, Argus, bahadir, boreocypriensis, Adanac, Noisette, tuslaw, cobra112, Dis. Ac., marhowie, mamcg, maurydv, tcr, brech has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Anna,
What a splendid capture with nice details and fantastic colours.
Excellent clarity and amazing good focus. Thanks for sharing
this wonderful composition.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-12-04 2:07]

Hello Anna,
very lively capture of this strong big bird. I like its dark feathers as it stands out beautifully against the soft brown grassland.
You note is very informative.
Beautiful bird well seen in good details.


Ciao Anna, lovely ostrich in a beautiful natural ambientation, great light, splendid sharpness and wonderful colors, very well done my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

Hi Anna

Fine shot of this Ostrich. Its not easy to getthe exposure right with these guys, especially on a sunny day, but yours is very good. Even though I've seen them in the zoo, their size surprised me in the wild.


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-12-04 2:31]

Hello Anna,
Beautiful photo of this Ostrich in good sharpness, DOF and composition. Very nice natural colours. Beautiful natural environment.

Hello Anna,
A very eloquent shot os this Ostrich, the zoom of your small camera Sony was render a grear perfromance here, you've manged this shot very well; also good cut and composition. Weel done.

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2010-12-04 3:12]

Hi Anna,
What a beautiful ostrich kompozsiyon ...
Very good focus, sharpness, colors, details, POV and composition.
Have a nice weekend,

Welgedaan Anna. Nice shot in the open with good detail.

Fantastic capture Anna of this powerful and gorgeous ostrich. The stature of the bird standing proudly between its warm natural habitat. Good point of view. Good sharpness and detail. Bravo!
George Veltchev

Hello Anna. Excellent shot of this lovely huge bird.
Your POV, DOF and composition are wonderful.
Thanks for sharing and best regards.

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2010-12-04 5:09]

Fine portrait with its habitat, wonder why male of the species are beautiful and this one no exception. Beautiful capture. tfs.

Super shot in full frame with margin to spare. Good choice in. Dropout which in fact makes the piic even better.

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2010-12-04 9:26]

Hola Anna
La Avestruz posa elegentemente para Tu camara como quriendo presumir todos sus atributos que por cierto son adorables.
La imagen muy bien lograda, desde un angulo ideal, la iluminacion y nitidez de alto nivel.
Todas las fotos que has logrado en el Parque Kruger son verdaderamente bellas, y las notas escritas nos dejan muy buenas enseñanzas.
Gracias por compartir Anna.

Bonjour Anna,
Très belle publication dans laquelle le sujet est bien valorisé dans son environnement par une bonne maitrise de la lumière et une très bonne profondeur de champ.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-12-04 15:01]

Hi Anna,it seems proud to enter in your gallery this ostrich! What a pose and what a beautiful pic,great sharpness,colors and focus and a rich background too.Thanks for share,have a nice Sunday,Luciano.

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2010-12-04 22:16]

Hello Anna, superb shot of this cute Ostrich from nice point of view in fine pose with nice composition and details.
TFS and R's,

Hello Anna,
Great capture under right exposure
But, strange the head and also the neck look small compare with the body, maybe the angle of the POV gives this impression ?
Kind regards

Hi Anne,
great view of this large Struthio. Very good sharpness and great natural colours. Also nice background.
Have a nice Sunday,

Great shot, Anna! Looks as if the bird is posing especially for you. It would have been the perfect shot if you could get more feather detail in the black areas!

Hi Anna

Fascinating to see the red face and legs of the ostrich male, indicating he is ready to mate.



Thank you so much for adding me to your favorite members. Very kind of you.

Good Health

Hello Anna, this is an excellent shot from nice viewpoint. Great details and composition.
TFS and regards,

Hi Anna,

Awesome capture of this huge beauty, the action has been nicely frozen. The lighting seems quite weak here (a cloudy day?), but looks well managed. Nicely captured MF!
TFS and have a nice night!


  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2010-12-06 18:13]

Hello Anna,
What a beautiful image of this stately looking ostrich. My brother when he was in Kenya said he was so impressed with these birds, the size and speed he said was incredible. I have a question have you ever eaten ostrich, I hear it is quite good. Thanks for showing me South Africa Anna.
PS how is grandma and grandpa little bundle of joy?

Hello Anna
another great capture from you, i am always impressed from this big birds, but i have never see them in the wild, this image is well composed and well framed with wonderful sharpness and fine POV
TFS and have a good night

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-12-08 21:12]

Hello Anna,
I can definitely say we don't have anything like this here in our neck of the woods. The Ostrich is such an awesome looking bird with it's huge muscular legs, long neck and stout body.
I can't imagine living in an area that has birds that could probably kill you if they decided to kick you. You have done a fine job of capturing this fellow as he stands proudly for the camera. Overall a wonderful photo of an interesting subject, with excellent qualities. Well done!!

Hola Anna

Bella imagen de esta especie de aveztruz, con esa cara tan original que pone cuando se acerca. Contrastes un poco justo con ese fondo claro, pero realzado por esas plantas delanteras verdes. Un POV excelente.

Un saludo de Antonio

Ciao Anna. Interesting dynamic posture and excellent contrast againt the wild environment. Perfect light's managment.


Hello Anna,

another very good image and this timme from the Ostich.
good pov and sharpness with nicely blurred bg, so the bird standing free enough from the bg.
Fine colors.


Well detailed shot of the ostrich Anna..
I like the natural habitat/terrain & green leaves I see near the bird.
Looks like a very arid environment.
Merry Christmas to you both!

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2010-12-18 3:28]

Hi Boesman

This is a neat image of the "Daddy long-legs" of the birding world. The moment when one
justly becomes aware of just how big this bird really is, is when you're right next to it and
you have to look up into those beautiful big eyes. Although this one was captured from
a slightly raised vantage point which maybe makes the bird look less impressive is size.
This was because at that spot the asphalt road is raised ±1m higher than the surrounding
plains and therefore it looks like you captured this image at almost eye level with the bird.
Given the cloudy conditions you managed to grab a wonderful shot of the bird, full of clear
detail of the plumage and with a very accurate colour rendition of the moment. I know it to
be so, because I was there with you. The exact lovely bluish cast on those black feathers
was provided there courtesy of nature itself. So, why would you want to change it?

Well done and TFS.
Take care and have a great weekend.

  • Great 
  • mamcg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 333 W: 13 N: 91] (9843)
  • [2010-12-19 8:11]

Hi Anna,

For such a long detailed NOTE, my appreciation and regards and species like this we don't have but here life is much in hazard that if could safe us from ground then there be a dron attack from air, as these birds are lucky that these in safe captivity, beautiful shot, TFS.


Hallo Anna,
a superb capture of the Ostrich, very good sharpness and very beautiful natural colours, great posture of this large bird in a very nice environment
I wish you all the best and Happy New Year
Ciao Maurizio

  • Great 
  • tcr Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 158 W: 8 N: 538] (3384)
  • [2010-12-30 10:42]

I´m really impressed about the strong legs of this ostrich.
Well chosen composition and point of view.

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