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ostrich

ostrich, common name for a large flightless bird (Struthio camelus) of Africa and parts of SW Asia, allied to the rhea, the emu and the extinct moa. It is the largest of living birds; some males reach a height of 8 ft (244 cm) and weigh from 200 to 300 lb (90–135 kg). The ostrich runs at great speed with wings outspread. The inner of the two toes on each foot is much the larger and bears most of the bird's weight. The ostrich kicks when angered and can inflict serious injury. In both sexes the head, neck, and thighs are bare or scantily feathered. The male is glossy black with beautiful long white plumes on the wings and tail. The female is a dull grayish brown. Usually the polygamous male has from two to six females in his flock. The cock scoops out a hollow for the eggs, which weigh nearly 3 lb (1.35 kg) each. One of the females incubates the eggs during the day, and the cock takes over at night. During the 19th-century vogue for ostrich plumes, farms were established in South Africa and later in North America, Australia, and Europe; after World War I fashions changed and the industry collapsed. Ostriches are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Struthioniformes, family Struthionidae.

See R. Nixon, Dreambirds (2000).

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ostrich

ostrich it was once popularly believed that ostriches bury their heads in the sand if pursued, through incapacity to distinguish between seeing and being seen, and this supposed habit is often referred to allusively (see bury one's head in the sand). Ostriches are also proverbial for their indiscriminate voracity and liking for hard substances (which are swallowed to assist the gizzard in its functions).

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ostrich

os·trich / ˈästrich/ • n. 1. a flightless swift-running African bird (Struthio camelus, family Struthionidae) with a long neck, long legs, and two toes on each foot. It is the largest living bird, with males reaching an average height of 8 feet (2.5 m). 2. a person who refuses to face reality or accept facts.

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ostrich

ostrich Largest living bird, found in central Africa. It is flightless and has a small head and long neck. Plumage is black and white in males, brown and white in females. Eggs are laid in holes in the sand. Height: to 2.5m (8ft); weight: to 155kg (345lb). Family Struthionidae; species Struthio camelus.

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ostrich

ostrich XIII. ME. ostric(h)e, -ige — OF. ostric(h)e, -usce (mod. autruche) :- Rom. *avistrūthius, f. L. avis bird + late L. strūthiō — Gr. strouthíōn ostrich, f. strouthósparrow, ostrich.

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ostrich

ostrich (Struthio camelus) See STRUTHIONIDAE.

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ostrich

ostrichbewitch, bitch, ditch, enrich, fitch, flitch, glitch, hitch, itch, kitsch, Mitch, pitch, quitch, rich, snitch, stitch, switch, titch, twitch, which, witch •Redditch • Greenwich • eldritch •ostrich • backstitch • hemstitch •topstitch • Shostakovich • tsarevich •Sandwich •dipswitch, Ipswich

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Ostrich

OSTRICH

OSTRICH , the largest of the birds. The ostrich, in its habits and bodily structure, has features similar to those of a camel (its Latin name is Strutio camelus). It was formerly commonly found in eastern Transjordan but by reason of being intensively hunted has disappeared almost entirely from the Middle East region; individual ostriches are only seldom found in eastern Transjordan, to which they apparently come from the Arabian deserts where the ostrich has also become rare. In the Bible the ostrich is called ya'en (יָעֵן) and kenaf-renanim (כְּנַף רְנָנִים; av, jps "the wing of the ostrich"). The former name occurs once, in Lamentations (4:3): "The daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness." Its description as cruel is apparently connected with the fact that when in danger it is liable in its flight to hurt its chicks and also to the fact that the female often hatches only some of the eggs, the rest being abandoned and used as food for the newly hatched chicks. Job (39:13–18) contains an extensive description of the ostrich, there called kenaf-renanim, that is, "the wing that delights the eye with its beauty." There an account is given of the way it hatches its eggs on the ground (ibid., 14–15); of the male who confuses the chicks of other females and is their leader (ibid., 16); of the ostrich's meager understanding; "Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath He imparted to her understanding" (ibid., 17; cf. the expression Vogelstrausspolitik); of its ability to escape from hunters mounted on horses (ibid., 18). The translations have identified the bat-ya'anah (בַּת יַעֲנָה), included among the unclean birds and mentioned several times as inhabiting desolate places (Isa. 13:21; Micah 1:8; et al.), with the ya'en. The bat-ya'anah was originally a species of *owl but the name is used for ostrich in modern Hebrew. In the Mishnah the ostrich is called na'amit (נַעֲמִית; in Ar.: na'ama); in mishnaic and talmudic times the ostrich was well known. Vessels were made from its eggshells (Kel. 17:14), while some people bred it as an ornamental bird (Shab. 128a). Its ability to swallow anything was exploited; fed pieces of gold covered with dough, it evacuated them after the action of its gastric juice had refined the gold (tj, Yoma 4:4, 41d).

bibliography:

Lewysohn, Zool, 188f., no. 240; I. Aharoni, Zikhronot Zo'olog Ivri, 1 (1943), 20, 33; F.S. Bodenheimer, Animal and Man in Bible Lands (1960), 59f.; J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 91.

[Jehuda Feliks]

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