The name Ratitae also known as Ratites for running birds stems from the shape of the breastbone.
It derives from the Latin word Rates meaning without a keel. The flightless birds of this order include The Ostrich in Africa, the Emu from Australia, Rhea or Nandu from South America, Cassowary from Australia and the smallest is the Kiwi from New Zealand. An ostrich has two toes whereas all the other flightless birds have three toes on each foot.
The breast-bone of the ostrich does not have a keel to which flight-muscles could be attached but is instead convex. Other reasons for ostriches not being able to fly is the fact that they are too heavy, the wingspan is too short and their feathers offer no wind resistance.
The breast- bone is approximately 30 mm thick and flat without musculature and is attached to the ribs in such a manner that it can absorb shock.
It serves as a protective barrier for the heart and liver situated right behind it. Ostriches tend to run into fences or other ostriches and the sternum therefor serves as a shock absorber as it is hollow and spongy with no marrow. Many people are of the notion that the meat comes from the breast but an ostrich has absolutely no breast meat like chickens.
The high quality Ostrich Fillet and Steak come from the upper thighs. Ostrich Meat has become sought after due to its health benefits. It has low cholesterol and fat content and is high in protein.
During the course of your guided Ostrich Tractor Safari we will show you some of these ratites.