I am very sad to announce that since our last ostrich update a couple weeks ago, the ostrich family has lost two of their chicks. At just three and a half weeks old and weighing a tiny three kilograms, wandering through an environment with a multitude of threats, this was probably to be expected. I don’t think there’s reason to fear just yet though because with each passing day their chances of survival increase and so we continue to hope for the best.

These birds will develop quite rapidly in size over the next few months. At 42 days they will weigh five kilograms. This will increase to ten kilograms and they’ll have their first true feathers by 70 days. At six months they will weigh 45kg and will be a whopping 85kg by the time they reach a year old. At this point they will be the height but not quite the mass of the adults.

It is hard to say what exactly would have eaten the chicks but being so small they are under threat from many species including jackals, hyenas and even eagles such as the Martial Eagle.

As they get bigger though, these threats decrease because fewer predators are big enough to eat them. As they get older, it will only be animals such as lions, leopards and possibly hyenas that can hunt them. In a few months the chicks will also be a lot more aware of their surroundings and will be better able to defend themselves. Currently it must be a bit like herding cats when there’s a threat as the chicks scatter in all manner of directions. The adults are also more adept at defending them from the ground by doing a distraction display which involves running away from the youngsters, collapsing with a swaying neck and flopping their wings in a broken wing display. But at the moment, a lot of the threat comes from the sky and quite honestly their isn’t much the parents can do in these situations.

We saw the family of birds this morning and with the sprinkling of rain that we’ve had there are fresh grass shoots for them to feed on, making foraging easier. It also seems that they are sticking to fairly particular parts of southern Londolozi where very few predators have been found recently only amplifying our hope that they continue to survive.

Filed under Birds Wildlife

About the Author

Amy Attenborough

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Amy has a rich field-guiding history, having spent time at both Phinda and Ngala Game Reserves. This diversity of past guiding locations brought her an intimate understanding of different biomes across South Africa, and she immediately began making a name for herself as ...

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12 Comments

on Ostrich Update: And Then There Were Four

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Ginger Brucker
Guest

They are the sweetest. I continue to be amazed by their resilience in this environment. Many lessons to be learned from this little family. Thanks for keeping us up to date Amy. Love your posts.

Jill Larone
Guest

Thanks for the update Amy, and I loved the video and pictures. I really hope they will survive to adulthood and am amazed at how well they have done so far. Such an amazing story!

Anne & Tom Hilbert
Guest

We met the mom a year ago during a sundowner stop with Greg. I’m so pleased she has found a friend of her own species and am thoroughly enjoying getting to know the little ones. I’m hopeful for their survival and to be able to see them in person next April.

Trevor jacobs
Guest

Hi james has the rain come yet it looked bleak in September

James Tyrrell

Hi Trevor,
We have had a bit of rain but not enough just yet. There’s a nice flush coming through but we need quite a bit more before we can stat breathing a bit easier!
Hope you and Mary are both well!

Loretta
Guest

So sad. Thank you for the update.

Catherine Millar
Guest

Looking forward to the next report on the family. Crossing my fingers!

Patti Webb
Guest

We just returned from Londolozi. I have TRIED to join this email Blog numerous times. It says “oops, something went wrong. Try again later… My husband can get it. Can you help?

Amy Attenborough

Hi Patti. Yes of course, I will try to add you manually. Just confirm that this email address drpattiwebb@aol.com is the address you would like to receive the updates on? Many thanks, Amy

Amy Attenborough

Hi Patti. I have just checked the system and it seems you unsubscribed yourself at some point. I have sent you an email that requires your confirmation in order to be resubscribed. Once this is done you should start receiving the emails. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have an more trouble. Thanks again, Amy

Wendy Hawkins
Guest

Thanks for the update Amy! I am happy that there are four, lets hope that they grow up big & strong <3

Kate Imrie
Guest

Grow Ostriches! Grow! Love team Imrie

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