The ostrich is the largest bird in the world. It is often eight feet high and is so strong that it can carry a man. It has a long neck, about three feet long, and a small head; and it carries its head and neck erect. Its wings are small compared to its size, and it does not fly. But it has long and very strong legs and can run faster than a horse can gallop. It defends itself by kicking with its legs and a kick from an ostrich can lame a horse or kill a man.
The ostrich is found mostly in Africa and lives in dry sandy wastes or countries covered with low bushes. Wild ostrich is very shy, and, as they can run so fast, are hard to catch. They feed on grass, leaves, seeds, and fruits.
Ostriches are hunted for the sake of their feathers. The best feathers are those of the wings and the tail, and they are used mainly in ladies’ hats. They are very costly, and only rich people can afford to buy them. Although ostriches are so swift, they can be caught, because they are rather stupid birds. When they are hunted, instead of running straight away, they run round in wide circles; so that men on horses can cut across and meet them, and catch them by throwing “lassos”, or long ropes, around their necks. It is said they are so stupid that they put their heads in the sand and think that no one can see this is true. them, because they cannot see anyone. But nobody knows if
Nowadays large ostrich farms are kept in South Africa, where the ostriches are bred and tamed and fed for the sake of their feathers. These farms are said to pay well.