Ostrich Size Explained: Length, Weight Compared With Other Living Beings

Ostrich Size

Ostriches are fascinating creatures, with long necks and feet, and incredible physical feats they are capable of, despite their flightlessness. 

The largest of all birds and the fastest of all land animals, they have quite a few superlatives hidden in their wings. 

They also have the largest eye of any land animal, measuring about 2 inches across in diameter. 

Holding the ‘largest bird in the world title is not easy work, and we must applaud them for being as quick as they are despite their massive size. 

But what is Ostrich’s size? How are they measured? 

Are these numbers subject to change? 

These are valid questions to ask and today we are going to answer them! 

So without further ado, let us get into these flightless and fascinatingly massive numbers.

Ostrich Length Explained

The length of a bird is usually considered to be the distance between the tip of its bill and the base of its feathers. 

But since ostriches have a rumpy middle section and then thin long legs that are not feathered, their measurement process looks a little different. 

For ostriches, their length is taken from the tip of their bill to the base of their feet – a long long way down! 

The length of a bird is usually taken when the dead specimen is still fresh and prior to it being skinned. 

The bird is usually laid down flattened on its back, but with ostriches some scientists keep them standing vertically, and erected onto some outside equipment that keeps the bird from falling. 

Then the scientists go in with their measuring tape and measure. 

Adult male ostriches reach sexual maturity at 3 – 4 years and measure in at about 7 ft 3 inches to 9 ft 10 inches while the female ostriches tend to be on the relatively smaller side. Female ostriches measure in at about 5 ft 7 inches to 7 ft 7 inches.

Male Ostriches Average Length8 ft 10 inches269 cm
Female Ostriches Average Length6 ft 7 inches200 cm

Ostrich Weight Explained

Not only are they the largest of bird species but they are also the heaviest! 

Ostriches usually weigh between 139 pounds and 320 pounds, which is already big numbers when you are looking at the bird family. 

But ostriches also show slight variations in weight on the basis of the specific species and the amount of food and resources available to them.

For instance, the east African residing Masai ostriches weigh about an average of 254 pounds in males and 220 pounds in females

Another ostrich subspecies, the North African ostrich, when measured, averaged 245 pounds in adults

There were even exceptional cases where males came in at an astonishing 350 pounds, which is almost 160 kg.

Ostriches Weight Range139 – 320 pounds65 – 145 kg
Ostriches Average Weight229 pounds105 kg

Ostrich Leg And Neck Size

We can all agree that the normal parameters considered when measuring birds cannot equally apply to these big boys. 

Let’s take a look at some of the specific measurements made for these birds. 

Their long legs and necks make up for a lot of their height, and their tarsus bones are among the longest in all the world. 

The tarsus bones of ostriches come up to about 15.5 to 21 inches, the largest of all living bird species.

Ostriches also have incredibly long and flexible necks that basically give them a full head turn when necessary. 

Their neck makes up for quite a bit of their height, measuring in at about 3.2 feet in total. 

Research made into the size of ostriches and determinants shows that protein content levels, dietary energy, and other environmental factors played a huge role in determining the growth and development of ostriches.1

Ostrich Baby And Juvenile Size

Ostrich babies are born pretty big when compared to other baby birds, but proportionately small when compared to their enormous parents. 

They measure in at about 8 – 10 inches at the time of hatching and weigh only a few pounds. 

As they slowly grow and develop, they grow about 10 inches per month, and so by the time they complete one year of growth, they weigh in at about 100 pounds. 

Once sexually matures, the ostrich stays the same height for all of its life. 

They live for about 45 years in the wild though records surpassing 70 have been recorded in captivity.

Ostrich Size Compared To Average Human Being Size

Now, this is where the fun actually starts because that’s really what we want to know. Sure, they’re big, but are they as big or even bigger than us? 

And to no one’s surprise, they are! The average male height is taken at about 5 ft 9 inches, while the average ostrich size is an easy win itself, coming in at about 8 – 9 feet! 

The ostrich takes the cake here with zero competition as they compare to even the tallest of men! 

And while there are certainly human beings touching the 350-pound range weight, the average is yet again dwarfed by the massive ostrich.

Ostrich Size Compared To Emu

Let us now put this mighty bird against a fellow cousin from the flightless bird family, the emu

Emus are still tall birds, measuring in at about the same height as we do, about 5.5 ft to 6 feet tall

They are also among the tallest living bird species, the second most actually, dwarfed by the star of the show, ostriches! 

Ostriches average 8 feet, an easy win when compared to emus. 

But emus are the largest living bird endemic to Australia, so fret not since every bird has its day!

Ostrich Size Compared To Turkey

When compared to turkey, endemic to North America and has a large belonging to the genus Meleagris. 

The more common variety known to us, the domestic turkey weighs about 30 pounds and measures about 4.1 feet in total. 

They do reach maximum weights up to 86 pounds, but it is still a tiny bird compared to the massive size of ostriches, at an average of 230 pounds! The ostrich takes the cake again.

Ostrich Size Compared To The Cassowary

A more colorful cousin in the flightless bird family, the cassowary is a wonderfully plumaged bird with the most peculiar appearance. 

They have bright streaks of blue, pink, and purple strewn throughout their black plumage and the females are brighter and bigger than the males. 

Adult southern cassowaries weigh about 130 pounds, with an average height of 6.6 feet. A comparable height to the ostrich, but still, the ostrich reigns supreme.

Ostrich Size Compared To Eagle

Ostrich Size

Another powerful big bird family is the birds of prey, with their incredibly strong bodies and their plethora of physical characteristics. 

Eagles are certainly one of the first birds we think of when we think of birds of prey, and they are pretty large and vicious birds. 

An eagle only measures about 40 inches in height but it is its wingspan that is truly magnificent. 

Eagles have a whopping 7ft 7 inches wingspan, which laid sideways can actually compare to the average height of ostriches! 

As for their mass, they tend to sit on the lighter side despite their size, weighing in at 14 pounds.


So that was all about these incredibly large and long birds that are a constant source of amazement to scientists. 

They have a vast world of knowledge hidden beneath their rumpled plumage, and we hope you enjoyed this tiny peek into their world with us!

Thank you for reading!

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