The American ostrich, he is Nanda, despite the fact that he looks similar to his African "brother", but belongs to another family and squad (nandoobraznye) and has a number of significant differences. First of all, it is much smaller than the ostrich that we are used to, and also lives in another locality. We will talk about these birds in more detail.
The first thing you notice when comparing these two species of ostriches is their name. As you know, the African name is so named because it lives in Africa, but the American one - in America. Nandu are large birds that live in the savannas of subtropical and temperate latitudes in South America. In particular, they can be found in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Bolivia. In these countries, many farms that breed poultry. Their habitat zone for living under natural conditions is wide open spaces, such as savannah, lowlands, as well as the mountainous open plateaus of the Andes.
Among Nanda there are several species that live in different localities. For example, the northern bird chooses a warmer climate and lowlands, but the species of Darwin prefer more elevations. They can safely live at an altitude of 4500 meters, as well as in colder areas in the south of the continent, for example, in Argentina.
Interesting to know
As it turns out, the first ostrich farms appeared for the first time in 1838 in Latin America. Since then, these birds are bred here for not only eggs, meat and feathers, but also for skin. And also the shells of their eggs go into business. At the present time in all of Latin America there are more than 600 farms breeding Nanda.
Features and appearance
Scientists are still arguing about the kinship of African and ostrich South America. It hurts a lot of differences in their appearance and behavior. For example, Nanda, although it also does not know how to fly, but it uses its wings. When running, the bird raises one wing upwards, presenting itself as a sailboat. Yes, yes, in this case, feathers play the role of the sail. Also on the paws of this species of ostriches has not two fingers, but three. See the photo.
There is a version that Nanda is the first non-flight bird, and all other types of ostriches have already descended from them. Perhaps this is so. In addition, there is evidence. For example, the American species at the end of the wings have some sharp processes - claws, they can be seen in the photo. It was these weapons that the ancestors of the Paleocene possessed.
Let's look at the appearance of Nanda. These are rather large ratites, which have an oblong oval body, a long neck, large legs, and a small head. It looks the same as the African ostrich. But there are differences. For example, Nanda has three toes, so they run worse, they also have a neck covered with feathers, so it seems a bit rougher. For self-defense, nature left these birds a sharp claw at the ends of their wings. All other birds have no such instrument.
Behavior and way of life
Like many other birds, the ostrich Nanda polygamy. One male may have a small harem of 3-7 females. But here the job of the male is to breed and raise offspring. Females, as a rule, lay eggs in one nest and are no longer engaged in family responsibilities.
In general, the South American ostrich lives in small groups, uniting in herds of ungulates. For example, they like to graze along with cows, vicunas or sheep. As practice shows, the society of ungulates, like the African species, is to their liking. Their union helps both birds and ungulates to defend themselves against predators.
One of the bright features of Nanda is that they love water and swim very well. Since the birds do not tolerate heat well, they spend most of their time in the water on summer days. If there is no reservoir nearby, then ostriches sleep during the day in secluded cool places, and awake at night.
When threatened, Nanda starts screaming and making a hissing sound. Some people sometimes even confuse their sound with hissing predators. Another interesting detail - in the mating season, the female makes a sound similar to the word "nan-doo." Perhaps, therefore they received such name.
As for food, these birds are omnivores. They eat vegetables, and fruits, and seeds, and roots, and insects that are found in South America. By the way, small vertebrates are their favorite delicacy. The rest of the diet is similar to all other ostriches.
But the eggs of this bird really deserve special attention. In addition, they are very nutritious, they are also useful in the national craft. Nanda also carry very large eggs, which are commensurate in size with four dozen chickens. The product itself is dietary and very useful.
But their shells are also valuable. From her craftsmen make souvenirs and crafts. By its qualities, the shell resembles porcelain. For example, many craftsmen make vases and bases for paintings from it.
It is worth noting that the skin of the ostrich Nanda is also valued, such as crocodile. In South America, handbags and various accessories are made of it. However, this is a very expensive material, so only branded elite companies use it.