Just when things were ticking along and we were convinced we were going to be welcoming a clutch of Ostrich chicks into the world at Londolozi, disaster has struck, and we found the nest in a shambles this morning, with the male ostrich – who usually incubates through the night – wandering off by himself and the female over a kilometre away.

Tracks of the Matimba males were heading into the area, so we were already feeling a little bit of trepidation when we were only a few hundred metres away from the nest site, when we suddenly spotted the male ostrich moving away from the nest. Now that normally wouldn’t be cause for concern, as when one of the adults is away the other is invariably brooding the eggs, but since the female had already been found a few minutes before, and we therefore knew she wasn’t in the area, we were now suddenly very worried. Something drastic must have happened for the male to leave the nest unguarded. He was making soft grunting noises, which were either distress calls or an attempt to call the female.

Leaving him to go on his way, we moved to the nest site, and were horrified to find the eggs scattered everywhere. Some shells had been broken and their contents devoured, but thankfully a few eggs remained intact. Tracks of hyenas were all over the area.
What exactly happened last night is unsure. Since ostriches are known to be fiercely protective of their nest sites, it may well have required multiple hyenas to distract the male while others ran in to snatch an egg or two.

Whether the male or female will return to the nest and attempt to continue raising the remaining eggs remains to be seen.


The broken shell of one of the eggs. The track of a hyena can clearly be seen on the right of the picture, circled in red.


The remaining eggs lie scattered. The nest scrape itself is just off screen above the photo.

We moved off to see if they male would reunite with the female, but he began feeding, milling around about 500m away. We will return to the area this evening to see if there have been any further developments…

Filed under Birds Featured Wildlife

About the Author

James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills were well developed, and he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team as a result. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the photographic skills ...

More stories by James


on Tragedy! Hyenas Raid Ostrich Nest
    Lou jacobs says:

    Oh no!! What a shame 😞

    Sally Tankard says:

    I know you aren’t supposed to do this but for goodness sakes put the eggs back in the nest!!!! No one will be watching…

    James Tyrrell says:

    No one was… πŸ˜‰

    Jerry d Pressley says:

    Let nature take its course… Hopefully the male will return to the nest and the hyneas will not! I look forward to the afternoon update and wish for happy news. Cant wait, tx, jp

    Vickie says:

    It is amazing to me that any ostriches ever hatch out. Those large eggs must be tempting to many creatures.

    Susan Olson says:

    Oh so sad. I was so pulling for the ostriches. Hopefully, the male will at least stay around to keep her company

    Dina,Guido says:

    maybe they left the nest knowing that something is wrong with the eggs ???

    Elias Mhegera says:

    I appreciate, it is a good narration, keep it up James

    Jacqueline says:

    A million thanks James for putting back the eggs together but I am afraid you only did half of the job… Wasn’t the nest comfortable enough????

    Lynne says:

    Oh what a shame ! Friends in Hoedspruit have ostriches on their TB free buffalo farm & the female was sitting on at least 15 eggs when she was taken by a leopard. I suppose the eggs can be found very easily by predators as well.

    Jill Larone says:

    Oh no!! That’s really sad! Hopefully the Ostriches will be back to sit on the remaining eggs. It sounds like it would be a miracle to raise Ostrich chicks to maturity, with so many predators in the area.

    Audrey Kubie says:

    Oh, how sad! It was so exciting to think of some more ostriches wandering in the area! I hope they will reunite, in any event. I would think there are many dangers for them lurking in the area.

    Liane says:

    James, it is really too bad, you were so very excited when you found out that there were ostrich eggs on londolozi. Hopefully the few left will survive.

    Brenda Quatember says:

    Oh so sad, so loved your ostrich story a while back, about your female finding a male was waiting for
    The Young Ones but not to be nature can be cruel.

    Kabir says:

    My brother and I were wondering if there are any updates?

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