About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Why Do Ostriches Bury Their Heads in Sand?

The expression "burying your head in the sand" usually refers to someone trying to ignore a problem. As in “BP is burying its head in the sand and refusing to give details about the magnitude of the oil flow in the Gulf of Mexico."

However, contrary to popular belief, ostriches don’t bury their heads in sand when they are frightened. They are not timid birds.

The main defense of an ostrich is to outrun or kick predators. If that isn’t possible, like when sitting on a nest, the ostrich may hunker down and pretend to be a bush and hope her sandy colored head blends in with the ground. So it may just look like the ostrich has buried its head in the sand, because only the body is visible.

Another possibility of why this myth continues is because ostriches eat mostly roots, leaves, and seeds, as well as insects and small animals on the ground. To help grind up food in the gizzard, these big birds also swallow sand, pebbles, and small stones. People may have noticed them picking up pebbles in their mouths or foraging for a meal and believed that the ostriches were burying their heads instead.

So the story is based on the supposed stupidity of ostriches or of birds in general, but in reality reveals man’s lack of knowledge.

Thank you Genny that was a very interesting question!


Anonymous said...

my 6 year old Ella, found this very interesting!

Anonymous said...

Its funny!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting I learned something new