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Somali Ostrich male | by Rainbirder
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Somali Ostrich male

The male's neck and thighs are blue-grey becoming a brighter blue in the breeding season whilst the body feathering is a darker black than in other Ostrich subspecies.

 

These birds are regarded by the IOC and Avibase as a separate species (Struthio molybdophanes) from all the other subspecies of Ostrich. Mitochondrial DNA analysis suggests this taxon split from other Ostrich taxons 4 million years ago initially being separated by the Rift Valley. Their range overlaps with Masai Ostrich but whereas Masai Ostrich is an open plains grazer, Somali Ostrich prefers dry bushland where it is essentially a browser; the two don't hybridise in the wild. Female Somali Ostrich is browner than the other Ostrich taxons.

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Taken on July 7, 2010