Why Do Ostriches Lay in The Rain? (Explained)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Ostriches are flightless bird species that are native to certain parts of Africa. They are the world’s largest living bird species.

Ostriches are one of two surviving species of the genus Struthio in the ratite order of birds, and they are the only existing members of the genus Struthio.

These birds are very unique and they have amazing features as well.

Ostriches are known for their ability to run at very high speed and also, they do extremely well in the desert too.

However, do ostriches also strive in the rain? “Why do Ostriches lay in rain?” Are they good swimmers in addition to being fantastic runners? Let’s find out!

Why Do Ostriches Lay In The Rain? 

Ostriches do not lay in the rain. Although little rain does not bother them much at all, they can only handle a decent amount. 

Ostriches will usually use the rain as a bath and they usually ruffle their feathers in it to get clean. However, when the rain gets heavy and frequent, that changes things a bit.

Ostriches have unique feathers that do a great job of protecting their skin from getting wet and cold in the rain.

However, they do not have waterproof feathers so when it pours down heavily, it can eventually soak through their feathers causing them to get cold.

Continue reading to find out more interesting facts about these birds. 

What Do Ostriches Do When It Rains?

Ostriches will likely have a bath when the rain is mild but if it’s heavy, however, they will likely look for a shade or a covering. 

Ostrich has loose, soft, and smooth feathers, their feathers are not closely packed. This gives their feathers a shaggy look.

Due to this feature, it’s very correct to say that ostriches do not have waterproof feathers. 

Their feathers can get soaked in the rain because they do not have the special gland many birds have to waterproof their feathers while preening.

Many birds are also able to preen their feathers with a layer of water-resistant oil.

They tuck their bills into oil glands located at the base of their tails and then spread the oil on their body with their beaks.

Here is an article I wrote on what are ostriches good for?

Do Ostriches Like Water?

Ostriches are land birds, the most definitely love being on land but regardless they enjoy water occasionally.

Although, they aren’t the perfect option when it comes to birds that like water, they do pretty great with water.

However, a perfect example of water-loving birds is penguins.

Penguins are one of the most famous birds that swim underwater.

They effortlessly glide through the water in a way that makes them look like they are flying. These birds split their time on land and time in the sea almost equally. 

Another example of a bird that almost lives in water, is a duck.

When you think of an aquatic bird, ducks are probably some of the first birds that come to mind.

In fact, ducks spend most of their time in the water but they do occasionally come out of the water to lay eggs, sleep, or waddle about.

Can An Ostrich Swim?

The question of “can an ostrich swim” is quite a frequent one.

It’s true that these birds aren’t aquatic birds, nonetheless, these birds actually love to swim especially, when the heat of summer is on. 

Ostriches do well with water, although they rarely swim, they enjoy the experience when they do. 

There’s practically no difference between the way they run and the way they swim. These birds also run in water, of course not deep water.

When the water is deep ostriches can keep afloat in the water and kick with their long legs to propel them forward. 

However ostriches aren’t fantastic swimmers, they do not have all the adaptive qualities to be water birds. 

Generally, Birds that live on land don’t have webbed feet, so they can’t use them to swim through water.

Secondly, they also don’t have tiny adapted wings that could help them with propulsion.

Ostriches are occasional swimmers, unlike Emus that are incredible swimmers.

Emus are often seen taking a swimming break in a pond or lake near their habitat.

This is a good skill for them to have since they cannot fly, while ostriches are super skilled runners. 

But the amazing thing is that despite their weight they can still swim. It is very rare to see these giant birds swimming, in addition, on occasion, ostriches will go for a dip in the water. 

Will An Ostrich Drown?

Yes, an ostrich can drown in water.

Aside from the fact that it is not a water bird, if the trimmer weight of the water is way larger than that of the bird, then the tendency of drowning is large.

Ostriches can do just fine in small ponds and lakes but when the water is very deep, it becomes very endangering for them.

Also check out this article I wrote on why do ostriches have feathers?

Do Ostriches Mate When It Rains?

No, ostriches do not mate when it rains.

Ostrich’s Mating will usually occur before the rainy season and will last about 5 months.

Mating season for ostriches takes place from April to September, with the chicks hatching during October through December.

To begin their mating process, the male bird will try as much as possible to get the attention of the female bird.

To attract a female, a male will do a little dance.

He fluffs his feathers while getting down on his knees, flapping his wings, and swinging his head around. 

Females frequently play hard to get and then walk away, which is very common with females generally.

But, because he is strong-willed, the male does not give up and continues until the female gives in to him. 

When the female bird yields, she sits, allowing the male to mount her from behind and inseminate her by inserting his phallus into her cloaca

Mating occurs in full view of the other females in the South American ostrich, but in some other subspecies, couples do it privately.

Though the male will mate with the other females in the group, he will only form a life-long mating pair with one dominant female. 

After mating, the male digs a shallow hole in which all of the females lay their eggs, with the dominant female’s eggs in the center (the best spot).

The dominant female will incubate all of the eggs, and the other females will push off.


Ostriches do not lay in the rain, they may take rainfall as an advantage to have their baths, but they aren’t fans of water.

However they have been seen swimming a couple of times, but these events are very rare to classify them as water-loving birds. 

One of the major challenges they face with being in the water is the fact that they can’t preen their wings.

Hence they stand a high chance of getting their wings soaked in the rain. 

They also stand a chance of drowning in large bodies of water.

Ostriches share a lot of similarities with emus but emus seem to be more water-friendly than ostriches. 

Other amazing flightless birds that love being in the water includes penguins, emus, and ducks. 

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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


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