When ostrich chicks are born they all have a brownish colour. This is for camouflage since they are so small and close to the ground – from far away predators can’t see that it’s ostrich chicks. Ostriches are desert birds who like hot and dry climates and hence their natural habitat is a dusty brown environment.
The males and females also look the same. We will only be able to determine their gender when they are about nine months old and change the colour of their feathers. Females’ feathers then turn grey and the males’ feathers turn black.
This is again for camouflage since during the breeding season the female ostrich will sit on the eggs during the day and the male will sit on the eggs during the night. They want to protect their eggs from predators and with the female on the nest during the day and with her grey feathers – predators can’t see it is a ostrich sitting on eggs. Ostriches have very flexible necks which they can lower to the ground without ant discomfort ; and with their necks parallel to the ground it does not look like an ostrich sitting on eggs. From far away it actually looks more like a big grey rock.
The male ostrich is a brilliant father and helps the female look after the eggs and once the chicks are born also helps take care of the young. The male ostrich will sit on the eggs during the night for incubation and with his black feathers no predator will ever guess there is an ostrich incubating eggs.