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common name for a large flightless bird (Struthio camelus) of Africa and parts of SW Asia, allied to the rhearhea
, common name for a South American bird of the family Rheidae, which is related to the ostrich. Weighing from 44 to 55 lb (20–25 kg) and standing up to 60 in.
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, the emuemu
or emeu
, common name for a large, flightless bird of Australia, related to the cassowary and the ostrich. There is only one living species, Dromaius novaehollandiae. It is 5 to 6 ft (150–180 cm) tall and a very swift runner.
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 and the extinct moamoa
[Maori], common name for an extinct flightless bird of New Zealand related to the kiwi, the emu, the cassowary, and the ostrich. The various species ranged in size from that of a turkey to the 10-ft (3-m) Dinornis giganteus.
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. 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 ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Struthioniformes, family Struthionidae.


See R. Nixon, Dreambirds (2000).

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What does it mean when you dream about an ostrich?

The ostrich may indicate that one is ignoring reality to the point of peril, especially if the ostrich has its head buried in the sand. If the ostrich is strutting about with its head held high, the dream may indicate a “know-it-all” smugness.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(vertebrate zoology)
Struthio camelus. A large running bird with soft plumage, naked head, neck and legs, small wings, and thick powerful legs with two toes on each leg; the only living species of the Struthioniformes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


hides head, thinking itself concealed. [Animal Symbolism: Brewer Dictionary, 788]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. a fast-running flightless African bird, Struthio camelus, that is the largest living bird, with stout two-toed feet and dark feathers, except on the naked head, neck, and legs: order Struthioniformes (see ratite)
2. American ostrich another name for rhea
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005