Are Ostriches Fast Birds?

fast ostrich

Are ostriches fast birds or are they slower than you’d think? Ostriches can’t fly, so they need another efficient and quick way to get around. Ostriches run at 45 mph, which isn’t a bad speed to travel in your car, so pretty impressive on foot (or claw)! Today we’ll share some totally awesome and unbelievable ostrich speed facts. We’ll see how fast they are solo, and how they stack up against other animals like lions, cheetahs and even horses. We’ll learn amazing things about ostriches from the time they hatch into adulthood, and let you in on how ostrich running is measured by us curious humans!


Why Are Ostriches Fast?

Ostriches are such unique and fascinating birds. They are the biggest living birds on the planet, and their enormous eyes are actually bigger than their brains!

These birds have a really interesting social structure for raising their young. Once the chicks hatch, the adults take turns caring for them as a group, known as a creche. Only one or two adults will be watching the chicks at any time.

If the herd runs into any competing families of ostriches, they will have a social challenge with each other. The winning herd will take all of the chicks and raise them as its own!

Ostriches are actually legal to own in most US states, and for many you don’t even need a special permit–but some do require one, so always check your state laws! While you absolutely cannot keep an ostrich in your home (it wouldn’t be good for the ostrich or your home!) you can raise them on land with proper fencing.

However, if you’re going to have an ostrich, or even your own herd of them, you’d better make sure you can keep up with them! In this article we’ll take a look at just how fast ostriches can be.

Can Ostriches Run?

Ostriches are fantastic runners. They’re built for running with long, powerful legs, and a center of gravity, between their legs and their wings, that helps them maintain their balance effortlessly.

Their incredibly long legs give ostriches a stride that is 12 feet long!

Ostriches also have specialized, extra-elastic tendons that store energy, making their steps twice as powerful as a human’s. They use their wings and tails to help them maneuver as they run at high speeds.

Are Ostriches Fast Compared With Other Animals?

Ostriches are the fastest running birds in the world. Other fast-running birds include the Emu, the Cassowary, and the Road-Runner, but all of these birds are 10-20 miles per hour slower than ostriches.

Are lions faster than ostriches?

Lions are one of the fastest land mammals, and are one of the predators of the ostrich. A lion’s top speed is 50 miles per hour, but only at short bursts. This is sometimes enough for them to catch an ostrich, but it’s not easy for them!

Are ostriches faster than cheetahs?

Cheetahs can sprint at 80 miles per hour, and possibly even a bit more than that, making them the fastest land animal on earth. There’s no way an ostrich could run faster than a cheetah at full speed!

Are ostriches faster than horses?

The fastest-ever horse, a Quarter Horse, was recorded as sprinting at 55 miles per hour. The fastest recorded time for Thoroughbreds, the type of horse you normally see in a race, was 44 miles per hour. So ostriches are definitely faster than horses!

How Fast Are Ostriches?

Ostriches can run an average of 45 miles per hour, with a top speed of 60 miles per hour for short bursts. This makes ostriches the fastest land animals on two feet.

For comparison, the average human can run about 6-8 miles per hour. Ostriches are over 6 times faster than humans!

speedy ostrich with babies

How Fast Are Baby Ostriches?

Baby ostriches are hatched about the size of chickens, and can start walking around by the time they are 2 to 3 days old. One month old ostrich chicks can already run at speeds of around 35 miles per hour!

By the time an ostrich is about 6 months old, it will be nearly the same size as an adult ostrich and capable of running at similar speeds. But it won’t be fully mature and ready to breed for several more years, until it is about 3 to 4 years old.

How is Ostrich Speed Measured?

Scientists have measured the speed of ostriches using devices called GPS-IMU, which stands for global positioning system inertial measurement units.

These devices were strapped to the backs of ostriches that had been hand-raised.

The ostriches were then allowed to wander around, and were also periodically chased from a safe distance. The data the devices collected enabled the scientists to calculate the ostriches’ ambling, walking, running, and sprinting speeds.

Why Are Ostriches So Fast?

Ostriches cannot fly, which is what most birds do when they need to escape predators. Most birds also fly when they need to find new sources of food or water, or look for a place to raise their young in safety.

Since ostriches cannot fly, they needed another way to accomplish these important tasks. So they evolved the speed to outrun dangerous predators, and the stamina to run long distances to find new resources in their sometimes unforgiving habitats.

Can Ostriches Fly?

Ostriches cannot fly. They are far too large and heavy to ever achieve the lift they would need to get off the ground.

Their feathers are also not the same as those of birds that can fly. They lack the barbs that help most birds’ feathers hook together to hold firm for flight. They also do not have oil glands to waterproof their feathers with.

These loose and shaggy feathers wouldn’t be any use for flight. But for ostriches, they are useful for releasing heat in the high temperatures of their desert and savanna habitats. Ostriches also perform displays with their feathers to communicate with and court each other.

Are Ostriches Fast Birds?

Ostriches are the fastest birds on land, and the fastest animals on two legs. They can’t outrun everything out there, but their great endurance helps them to stick with it and get where they’re going.

If you’re going to have some ostriches in your life, you’ll need lots of room and some good fencing, because human beings can’t run fast enough to catch these birds once they get it in their heads to take off somewhere! Ostriches can’t fly, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take off when they want to.

Whether you’ve caught up to an ostrich or are just dreaming of having one in your life one day, hopefully you’ve enjoyed learning more about these unusual birds.


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