SOUTH AFRICAN OSTRICH
South Africa has the largest population ostriches, the world's largest birds, in the world. These flightless birds can weigh from about 130 to 320 pounds, with males being slightly larger on average. Their long necks can keep their heads more than eight feet above the ground. Despite having very small heads, ostriches have the largest eyes of any land vertebrate, measuring two inches across. Though ostriches are unable to fly, these birds are some of the fastest animals in the world, as they can reach speeds of over 40 miles per hour.
In South Africa these odd birds are mostly farmed for their eggs, meat, leather, and feathers. Despite laying the largest eggs of any living bird, their eggs are actually the smallest relative to the size of the bird laying it. Eggs are laid in the sand, leading to the popular myth that ostriches try to bury their heads in the sand for protection. After about 45 days, the eggs hatch. The survival rate for chicks is remarkably low, as only 15% of chicks survive the first year of life. If the chicks make it through that first year though, they are liable to live for another sixty years.