Why Do Ostriches Bury Their Heads? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Ostrich primarily does not hurry their heads in the sound like the popular belief; what they do instead is to occasionally stick their head into their nest to rotate the eggs to make sure the eggs are evenly heated, which makes it look like they are trying to hide.

Ostriches are flightless birds; since they can fly to build their nest in trees, they lay their eggs in holes dug on the ground.

An ostrich that tries to hide from predators by burying its head in the sand won’t stay alive long because they would find it rather tricky to breathe.

Do Ostrich Bury Their Heads In The Sand?

According to animal experts, they said ostrich burying their heads in the sand to avoid predators is nothing more than a myth.

No. Ostriches do not bury their head in the sand; this misconception was gotten from seeing ostrich sticking their heads in the sand to check on their eggs.

It will die of asphyxiation, which is a condition of being oxygen-deprived.

Given some information on ostrich when they lay eggs and try to hatch them, it is little wonder why this myth came up.

Ostrich digs shallow holes on the ground to use as nests for their eggs since they obviously can’t fly to trees to build up nests with their 350 pounds weight; they are the most significant and heaviest birds globally.

After making the best for their eggs several times each day, they use their beaks to turn their eggs so heat can be dispersed evenly, but from a distance, seeing an ostrich riding their eggs several times a day looks like them burying their heads in the sand.

Here is an article I wrote on what do ostriches and hummingbirds have in common?

What Does it Mean When an Ostrich Bury His Head In The Sand?

It does not mean much as ostrich do not bury their head in the sand as it is not plausible, and they do not have any reason to do so.

They are one of the fastest animals on two legs; they can run as fast as 40 miles per hour for a brief period, if not more if they have to outrun predators, and they have a perfect blend of agility and endurance.

They stand at an impressive 9 feet tall and weigh 350 pounds; if they feel slightly threatened, they can deliver a powerful kick even to kill a lion.

They have no reason whatsoever to hide, let alone to bury their head in the sand to run away from predators as they have got natural defenses.

 What Do Ostriches Do When They Are Scared?

When scared, ostriches flop down on the ground with their head and neck in front of it, since the head and neck are lightly colored, they blend in with the color of the soil.

When an ostrich is scared and senses danger, the first line of action is to run, but if it can’t run, the next best thing is to attempt to blend in with the environment.

Additionally, they can also hide behind trees or stands very still.

How do ostriches hide from danger?

To hide from predators an ostrich will lay very close to the ground, lay its neck and head flat on the ground to attempt blending with the terrain,

From a distance the predator might think it is looking at some massive patch of bush, the male ostrich dark feathers make it look like that most especially if it is during the night.

The ostrich will lay in this position as still as possible till the danger passes, but then again, since the ostrich has a small head when lying still on the ground with its neck in front of him, it gives the illusion of burying its head in the ground from a distance.

How Does Ostrich Protect Themselves From Predators?

Ostrich can escape quickly in the face of danger, the long legs are well shaped to run, and the ostrich is the only two-toed bird,

It relies mainly on the strong legs with two-toed with the main toe shaped like a hoof to escape danger.

When frightened, an ostrich can achieve a speed of 72.5km per hour, and if cornered and frightened, it can deliver a powerful kick.

An ostrich is among the fastest animal on foot and it can keep running fast for long distances, it can outrun any human on earth and some of its other predators.

Their muscular legs give them the necessary strength needed to run, helping them achieve fast speed, the claw on the big toe proves more dangerous to their predators, it makes the ostrich’s kick even more of a weapon.

The ostrich has powerful kicks that when it is delivered to a predator it can end up killing the predator, for instance, when a lion attacks, the ostrich attack back with a swift kick to the lion, just with one kick, it is capable of getting a lion killed.

The long neck and legs of an ostrich make it possible for them to spot predators coming from a far distance,

With this, they can determine the level of danger, they can choose to run or just lie on the ground attempting to blend with the surrounding or better still face the danger to protect themselves by delivering a swift powerful kick to the predator foolish enough to come up close to the ostrich.

What Does an Ostrich Do at Night When a Predator is Near?

To escape danger or a predator, an ostrich will attempt to look like a rock or a bush patch by flattening its head and neck on the ground,

If alarmed it can sprint at 45 miles an hour and when cornered can deliver a swift kick to their predators that might potentially kill the predator.

The ostrich has quite an extensive vocal ability, it can use different varieties of sounds like whistles, snorts, guttural noises to communicate.

The male produces a large booming call that may sound rather like the roar of a lion and this sound is produced at night when a predator is near,

It is a sound of warning so others can either get hidden, run or get ready to defend themselves.

Despite having a small head, it is notable that they have the largest eyes of any land animal measuring two and a half inches in diameter, and are protected by long black lashes.


Ostriches live in a mixed society of flocks, individuals, and families.

The sizes of this group may range from five to fifty or more and they can co-exist peacefully.

Ostriches are mainly accompanied by Zebras or antelope, which helps kick up insects and rodents for ostriches and in return,

The ostrich with their keen eyes, hearing, and great height can give warning to the other animals when they see or feel danger.

The Ostrich does not hide their head in the sand as the popular myth says, they rather make little shallow holes in the ground to create a best since with their weight, their feathers can’t support them to fly.

An ostrich can protect itself from predators by either running, flopping on the ground to lately its head and neck on the ground for it to blend with the terrain or deliver a swift kick capable of killing its predators.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


HayFarmGuy - Get Info About Farm Animals in Your Inbox