Did you know there are two living species of ostriches, but there are at least thirteen ostrich species that are now extinct? The two living species are the common ostrich and the Somali ostrich. Within the common ostrich species, there are four subspecies, one of which went extinct in the 1940s (the Syrian ostrich).
The Somali ostrich, sometimes called the blue-necked ostrich, used to be considered the same species as the common ostrich, but in 2014 mitochondrial DNA studies showed that the Somali ostrich is different enough to be considered a separate species.
By the way, contrary to popular belief, ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand to escape predators. Seriously... if they did, they wouldn't have survived millions of years, right? This myth probably started when people saw ostriches rotating the eggs in their nests. Ostriches can't make their nests in trees, so they make their nests in the sand. To make sure the eggs are evenly heated, they periodically put their heads into the nest to rotate the eggs, which might make it look like they’re trying to hide.
Below are the two living ostrich species. Notice the blue color of the neck of the Somali ostrich (on the left).
- Somali ostrich - DepositPhotos
- Common ostrich - DepositPhotos
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