Ostrich Leg Size And Power: Compared With Other Living Beings

Ostrich Leg Size And Power

Ostriches are the largest living bird in the world, and one of the most fascinating creatures to learn about. 

Of their long and huge appearance, something that definitely stands out from other birds are their long strong legs

They have the largest tarsus of all living birds and quite a bit of muscle in the tarsus region which gives them great strength and mobility. 

Awkward as they are with their long and lanky appearance, they have one of the most effective defense mechanisms that are simultaneously fascinating and brutal. 

So today, we are going to look at everything to do with their legs, their running and kicking, their strength, and so on. 

So without any further ado, let us jump right into it.

Ostrich Leg Size (Length And Weight)

Ostriches have long legs that do not have any feathering on them and appear bare. They have the largest tarsus among birds that are covered in scales that are red in males while it is black in females. 

The tarsus can be understood as the section of a bird’s leg that comes in between its backward-facing knee, and its angle. 

Their legs are extremely strong, being able to not only carry but also pump forward almost 250 pounds! 

They have quite a bit of muscle in their legs which is focused in the thigh region and helps in propelling their feet forward and backward during running. They also weigh in at about 55 pounds (26 kg)

Tarsus Length Range15.5 – 21 inches39 – 53 cm
Tarsus Length Average18.25 inches46 cm

Ostrich Leg Size And Power (Anatomy)

Since ostriches are flightless birds, their main way of getting away from possible threats is running, and so their legs need to generate a lot of power to propel their 250-pound bodies forward at the required speeds

One of the physical adaptations that ostriches have to enable this fast running is their foot. 

Their feet only have two toes as opposed to the four toes found usually in birds. The nail on the larger inner toe looks more like a hoof, while the outer toe has no nail at all. 

A reduced number of toes is helpful in enabling them to cover greater strides more quickly!

And wow, do they have great strides? 

Ostriches can cover about 20 – 15 ft in one stride alone! 

They can also run at insane speeds of 40 miles per hour, with some ostriches crossing this record all the way to 50 miles! 

They can also maintain a steady running speed of about 30 miles per hour, which makes ostriches the fastest two-legged animal in the kingdom. That is yet another superlative in the bag for ostriches.

Finally, we need to talk about their kicking! 

When running away with their flocks is not enough to escape the potential predator, direr (and many times, lethal) methods must be taken. 

When they feel cornered by a predator, they can land a serious blow using their feet, which have about 3 tons of force behind them on impact! 

Their legs can also perform kicks that are about 500- 2,000 psi units of force, which is comparable to a horse’s kick. 

But it is not the force of the kick itself that makes these creatures’ kicks so deadly, their sharp toes can easily puncture into flesh and make a simple kick, a lethal slashing one.

Ostrich Leg Size And Power Compared To Human Beings

It is already no doubt that ostriches are larger and heavier than human beings, at about 9 feet and 250 pounds on average

But just for comparison’s sake, let us take a look at the average human leg length. 

The average adult male has legs that makeup about 45 percent of their overall height and thus it comes to an average of 31 inches (79 cm). Compare this to the 45 inches in ostriches, the ostriches are the clear winner.

Now, when looking at kick strength, scientists combined some of the most powerful and skilled men to deliver their best kicks. 

Upon consideration and calculation, their force came up to about 670 pounds per square inch. Now comparing this with Ostriches 2000 Pound per square inch seems puny.

Ostrich Kick Compared To Horse Kick

When thinking of animals with a seriously strong kick, horses probably sit at the top of your list. And for good reason! 

A single horse kick can generate about 10,000 newtons of force (approx 2200 pounds per square inch), and if you are the unfortunate victim of a kick, it can cause fractures to your skull and bones and other serious damage to your internal organs. 

Though ostriches have a similar strength to horses, their winning factor isn’t the power of the kick themselves, it is that impact added with its sharp claw-like nail that tears through flesh and causes some serious issues. 

Their kicks are so deadly, in fact, that many scientists say a human victim would be dead before they even felt the kick properly.

Why Do Ostriches Have Long Legs?

Ostriches are flightless birds and terrestrial, meaning that they spend all their time on the ground. 

Thus their legs need to be strong and sturdy to enable them to walk and run as much as they do. 

The length of ostrich legs also helps in keeping their center of gravity balanced in their core, so that their body mass does not topple the body over.1

How Dangerous Are Ostrich Kicks? Can An Ostrich Kick Kill A Human?

Yes, they most definitely can! Ostrich kicks are some of the most dangerous kicks a human can get. 

They have a kick with a force of impact of about 2000 psi, which will basically knock the life out of you. 

But added to that are their long, sharp, claw-like nails that will dig into you and kill you before you can even feel the full impact of their powerful kick!

Can An Ostrich Kick Kill A Lion?

Depends on the situation. Yes, their kicks do have the capacity to kill lions, but lions are also extremely intelligent creatures with some of the most effective hunting methods. 

If the lion attacking them is not in a pack and is a lioness, they have a much higher chance of killing the lioness because of their singularity and the female’s smaller size. Most ostriches weigh about 300 pounds while lionesses weigh about 280 pounds. 

There have been cases where the ostrich remained victorious and where the ostrich took the medal, so it is really a case of luck and chance.


And that was the powerfully lethal world of ostrich legs and kicks! We hope you enjoyed this tiny venture into their wonderfully vast worlds, and more importantly, that you learned something new and exciting today.

Thank you for reading!

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