Territorial male Somali Ostriches (Struthio camelus molybdophanes) typically use hisses and other sounds to fight for a harem of two to seven females (which are called hens). The winner of these fights will breed with all the females in an area, but will only form a pair bond with the dominant female.
Usually the eggs are incubated by the dominant female by day and by the male by night. This uses the coloration of the two sexes to escape detection of the nest, as the drab female blends in with the sand, while the black male is nearly undetectable in the night. The incubation period is 35 to 45 days. Typically, the male will defend the hatchlings, and teach them how and on what to feed.
We saw this male relieve the female of incubation duties during the day, contrary to the usual procedure. He rotated and arranged the eggs before settling down to incubate.
By Debbie Thompson on August 20, 2008.