The ostrich is undoubtedly the world's largest living bird. Adult males stand 2.4 m tall and can weigh well over 100 kg; the hen is slightly smaller. Ostriches are flightless birds, with their great body size and reduced wing size rendering them incapable of flying. They have a long neck, long bare legs and two toes. Their strong legs allow them to run up to 70 km per hour when necessary, with strides of up to 8 m.Neck and thigh muscles are well developed and unfeathered.
Since ancient times, ostriches have aroused people's interest. Apart from being hunted for their flesh and plumes, ostriches were kept in captivity, tamed and semi domesticated by the early Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Egyptians and Roman women of noble birth rode ostriches on ceremonial occasions.
The species name Struthio camelus comes from Latin. The word camelus is based on the similarities ostriches have with camels, such as their prominent eyes and eyelashes, their large size and their remarkable tolerance to the desert habitat.