Masai Ostrich *
The Masai Ostrich, also known as the Pink-Necked Ostrich or the East African Ostrich, is one of the 4 species of ostriches.
It’s found in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Somalia. It is one of the largest birds in the world, second only to the Northern-African Ostrich.
It has loose, soft, smooth feathers, which are black with white on the male, and grey brown with white on females.
The Masai Ostrich has a pink neck and thighs, that become brighter in males during the mating season.
It’s a flightless bird, as its wings are too small to lift its heavy body into the air. But it’s fast, reaching speeds up to 45 miles an hour.
Like other ostrich species, the top hen lays her eggs first, then other females put their eggs in her nest. After that, she discards the extra eggs from the nest and gives hers the priority. In most cases the nest doesn’t contain more than 20 eggs although every hen can lay 7 – 10 eggs.
The male Masai ostrich usually incubates eggs during the night shift and the female does the incubation during the day shift.
Masai ostriches are almost entirely herbivorous. Their diet consists mainly of grasses, bushes, herbs, succulents, and leaves. Occasionally they will consume flowers, fruits, seeds and small lizards.
Today the Masai Ostrich is hunted and farmed for eggs, meat, and feathers. Interestingly, a 2009 study found that illegal hunting of ostrich meat did not significantly affect the Masai Ostrich population density within the Serengeti National Park.
The Masai Ostrich is listed as a species of “least concern” under the IUCN Red List, although the wild ostrich populations are acknowledged to be in decline.
* Why feature the Masai Ostrich?
A couple of posts this week centered on Maasi handiwork, so I picked a bird with the word “Masai” in its name. Simple as that.