The touching story of the lonely female ostrich that captured Londolozi hearts all those years ago has reached a whole new high. We are incredibly delighted to announce (and yes I am aware that I sound like a proud mother) that the pair of ostriches have as of today six new chicks!!
Rangers arrived at the nest this morning to check up on the situation and where one normally finds the male ostrich committedly incubating the eggs, there were six wobbly youngsters instead. Still wet from their hatching and fumbling about on unstable legs, we believe that the chicks hatched only this morning. When I was at the nest the mother of the youngsters hadn’t returned for the change over yet but by the time James Tyrrell arrived later in the morning she had taken over the clutch care responsibilities. This would have been the very first time she had seen her chicks. The chicks are streaky in appearance (what is referred to as hedgehog down) with spiky black-tipped buff down and a line of black spots down their neck. Their camouflage is so perfect for the surroundings that should the young hatchlings lay unmoving and flattened to the ground, you wouldn’t even notice them as they blend into the scenery and soil around them. According to Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, the youngsters won’t be able to walk well for the first 24 hours but will already be leaving the nest in just three days time when they’re able to run up to 10m. One thing I found fascinating is that the chicks actually lack an egg tooth to cut themselves from the egg and thus break out by means of muscular spasms. This process can take as long as 9 hours, which is an astonishing struggle for such a young animal.
For those of you unfamiliar with this bigger story, it really is a remarkable one of hope. Three years ago the female arrived quite unexpectedly from the Kruger (we assume) and despite some near misses from lions, leopards and hyenas has managed to survived her harsh environment. It seemed that as no other ostriches appeared on the horizon and she became more lonely, she turned her attention to Londolozi game viewing vehicles for company. This all changed just a few months ago as two male ostriches made a surprise appearance on the property. After much chasing and antics, she eventually chose a mate and before we knew it, Londolozi’s first-ever clutch of eggs had been produced. Just a few short days ago the story took a turn for the worse when the nest was raided by hyenas and five of the eggs were eaten. Although seven remained untouched and were returned to the nest, we weren’t sure if the eggs had been damaged and if any youngsters would survive. We now know however that as of this morning, the ‘lonely’ female ostrich everyone has been so worried about for years now has a family of eight.
Until now this pair of birds has managed to beat the odds but it seems their work may have only just begun. With the number of cats, eagles, jackals, snakes and other potential predators roaming through Londolozi these chicks will remain vulnerable for a long while. Adults care for the young for up to 9 months and then the young form compact groups that wander off on their own. To protect youngsters, one of the adults may perform a distraction display. This happens when an adult runs quickly away from the group, collapses with a swaying neck and flops its wings in a broken-wing display. When predators gets closer to the adult, they jump up and run away, giving the youngsters the chance to scamper for safety. The young are apparently also very susceptible to sudden changes in temperature, particularly cold and wet weather and problems with internal parasites.
As is always the case we can only surmise what the future of this brood will be but can promise that we will keep you updated on this unlikely story of love and survival.
Hooray, good news indeed. Amazing stuff after what the eggs went through. Nature at its best.
This is so incredible. With such an amazing mother as a guide, these chicks have the best opportunity to survive and thrive. I know it is a tough environment. Is it possible to “lookup” to an ostrich as a role model! She is mine.
OMG so amazingly cute! This was the best news to wake up to. I hope they all remain safe!
YES!!!! HOW EXCITING FOR MADONNA.
Happy Birthday, little ones!!!
So exciting to see the babies! Hope they are kept safe! Thank you, Amy!
Read you first story and it was amazing, against all odds and finding you all as friends a mate eventually arrived,
I was very perturbed to read last week hyenas has raided the nest, and now absolutely delighted to see the new
clutch, just goes to show animals adapt to environment.
This is a very different and special story in an environment not suited to them, look forward to the follow up.
Amazing! This is inspirational, especially with all the negative news in our human world. Thank you!
Wonderful. Fingers crossed for the hatchlings safety.
Such wonderful news for the Ostrich, who we have grown to love, and all the people at Londolozi!
How wonderful!! I do hope the little buggers make it. Thank you Amy
Such an amazing story! I’m so pleased some survived – they look so much more beautiful than I thought they would! Looking forward to seeing the updates of them growing up! ?
Congratulations Mum & Dad?
Great news! Jennifer was so friendly to us when in the vehicle in June. We were sad that she was lonely. We hope these babies survive!
Great to hear Ams! Holding thumbs they learn to run fast! ?
Brilliant news! I’ve been following this story religiously and I’m so delighted that these eggs hatched. I will be reading all updates to check on progress!
What fantastic news!! I hope they stay safe and I can’t wait to hear further update on how they are doing. Thanks for the great pictures and video Amy!
Yippeeeeeee!!!!!! They have done so well so far, holding thumbs for the next stage.
I have been following their story and so it was fantastic to on the first vehicle who saw the chicks yesterday morning
This is great news . I hope that they survive.Plus they were born on the day before my birthday.
They have survived a lot already. Let’s hope this continues. Congratulations Mum & Dad Ostrich and happy birthday Chicks!
Fantastic news, we where at the camp when the nest was attacked. Great to see the chicks