Ostriches (Struthio spp.) may not be able to fly, but that hasn’t stopped them from holding several records in the animal kingdom. Those records include being the largest and heaviest of all living birds and laying the largest eggs of any living bird (and any living animal). They are also quite speedy sprinters, but where does their top speed rank? Read on to find out!
Just How Fast Can Ostriches Run?
The average top speed for ostriches is usually listed as 43 mph (70 km/h). However, some sources cite unconfirmed top ostrich speeds as high as 56 mph (90 km/h). The highest published scientifically measured running speed for ostriches, however, is just 39 mph (61 km/h), obtained by speedometer reading while a car engaged an ostrich in a straight-line chase.
Where Ostrich Speed Ranks in the Animal Kingdom
The ostrich’s top speed earns it multiple speed records. They are the fastest birds on land, as well as the fastest bipedal animals on land. If the 56mph figure is also accepted, then they are also the third fastest animal on land overall, topped only by the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and pronghorn (Antilocapra americana). However, given the uncertainty of its top speed figure, there is at least one other agile African species with a more certain top speed of about 55 mph that should probably share this bronze medal honor with the ostrich: the springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis). Additionally, the domestically bred American quarter horse can also clock 55 mph.
Fasting Animals on Land
|Top Land Speed
|American Quarter Horse
Fastest Birds: Land, Water, and Sky
The ostrich’s amazing running speed has earned it a place in the triumvirate of bird speed record holders. While the ostrich is the fastest-running bird, the fastest swimmer is the gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua), and the fastest flyer is the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus).
Ostriches are the fastest-running birds, the fastest land animals on two legs, and could be the third fastest land animal overall based on unconfirmed top-speed stats. While they may be able to sprint as fast as 56 mph, about 39-43 mph is likely more common.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © bruna-nature/Shutterstock.com
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