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The Common Ostrich’s Top Speed: How Fast Can an Ostrich Run?

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Uncover the astonishing top speed of the common ostrich, the fastest-running bird on Earth. Plan your African adventure with Africaproof.

Did you know the ostrich is the fastest-running bird on the planet? With a top speed of up to 43 mph (70 km/h), these remarkable creatures can outrun most predators and easily cover long distances.

The two living ostrich species, the Common ostrich and the Somali ostrich, possess this incredible ability—their remarkable speed results from their unique running behaviour and physical adaptations.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ostriches are the fastest-running birds, reaching up to 43 mph (70 km/h).
  • They can sustain a speed of 31 mph (50 km/h) over long distances.
  • Their running abilities are crucial for escaping predators and finding food in their natural habitats.
  • Ostriches have a unique running behaviour. They use their springy step, long legs, and wing balance to achieve high speeds.
  • These fascinating creatures inhabit various habitats, including open grasslands, savannas, deserts, and even human-altered landscapes.

Ostrich Behavior and Adaptations

Ostriches exhibit various interesting behaviours and adaptations. They are social creatures, living in flocks and establishing a strict hierarchy within their group. These unique adaptations help them survive in their environments.

  • Ostrich Stride: Their long legs and powerful muscles allow them to achieve impressive strides, covering up to 16 feet (5 meters) in a single step. This helps them navigate their habitats efficiently and move quickly when needed.
  • Ostrich Senses: Ostriches have keen eyesight and hearing, which helps them detect predators from a distance and locate food and water sources. Their acute senses play a crucial role in their survival.
  • Ostrich Social Behavior: In flocks, ostriches establish a well-defined social structure with a dominant male leading the group. This hierarchical system ensures order and cooperation within the flock.

Additionally, ostriches have unique physiological adaptations. They can regulate their body temperature by adjusting blood flow to their skin, enabling them to withstand extreme temperatures in their habitats. This ability allows them to survive in the desert’s scorching heat and the grasslands’ cooler temperatures.

Ostrich running in the desert
How fast can an ostrich run?

These intriguing behaviors and adaptations contribute to the ostrich’s success as a species, allowing them to thrive in a variety of environments and overcome challenges they face in the wild.

Ostrich Habitat and Distribution

Ostriches are endemic to Africa and primarily inhabit open grasslands, savannas, and deserts. Their native range spans from the Horn of Africa to Southern Africa. These adaptable birds can thrive in various habitats thanks to their unique adaptations.

In their natural habitats, ostriches require access to water sources to meet their hydration needs. They frequently drink water and also utilize bodies of water to cool off. This vital requirement influences their choice of habitats as they seek areas with readily available water sources.

While ostriches are commonly associated with their wild habitats, they can also be found in human-altered landscapes such as farms and pastures. These birds have successfully adapted to these environments, using the resources and shelter they provide.

Interestingly, ostriches have been introduced to other parts of the world, including Australia, where they have established small populations. However, their presence in these regions is not part of their native range, highlighting their ability to adapt and survive in new environments under specific conditions.


What is the top running speed of an ostrich?

An ostrich can reach up to 45 miles per hour, making it the fastest-running bird and the fastest land animal.

How does the ostrich’s running speed compare to other animals in the animal kingdom?

The ostrich is one of the fastest animals on land, outpacing predators such as lions and hyenas with its impressive sprinting ability.

Can an ostrich outrun a lion or a cheetah?

Yes, ostriches can cover short bursts of distance at speeds that can outpace predators such as lions and even the swift cheetah.

What makes the ostrich such a fast runner?

The ostrich’s incredible running speed is attributed to its powerful legs and ability to run fast in a straight line on two legs, utilizing its speed and endurance in short bursts.

Is the ostrich the fastest land animal?

Yes, the ostrich is the fastest land animal, using its speedy and powerful legs to reach top running speeds.

Can an ostrich run so fast that it could kill a lion?

While an ostrich could outrun a lion in short distances, it is unlikely that it could kill a lion solely through its running speed.

Q: How does the ostrich’s running speed contribute to its survival in the wild?

The ostrich’s ability to run fast allows it to evade predators and increases its chances of survival in the African safari.

What is the average stride length of an ostrich when running?

Ostriches can have a single stride that covers around 10 to 16 feet, showcasing their remarkable running capability.

Q: How fast can an ostrich run in short bursts?

In short bursts, an ostrich can run up to 60 miles per hour, showcasing its impressive sprinting ability for short distances.

Q: Can ostriches fly, or are they flightless birds?

Ostriches are flightless birds, relying on their remarkable running speed and powerful legs as their primary means of survival and locomotion in the wild.

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