Also referred to as the Syrian ostrich, the Arabian ostrich is an extinct bird species that used to dwell in places like the Arabian Peninsula, the Syrian Desert, and the Euphrates Valley. These animals were sometimes traded with faraway lands and offered to world leaders as precious gifts. Some places, like Mesopotamia, used them as sacrifices to their gods.

The entire animal would be used after being hunted. They provided meat, eggs, feathers, and even leather. The leather and feathers were used to create handicrafts and human protection items, such as hats. These birds lived through prehistoric times and beyond, but when people started hunting with guns and vehicles started taking over land, this animal became rare before going completely extinct.


The Earliest Records of the Arabian Ostrich in History

It is not known exactly when the Arabian ostrich came into existence, but we do know that they have been around since prehistoric times. They lived through the Roman Empire and while Islam rose in power and popularity. They were traded between countries before guns and vehicles were commonplace. It is estimated that the Arabian ostrich became rare in the early 20th century and then became extinct later in the same century.

How the Arabian Ostrich Gained Popularity

The Arabian ostrich gained popularity when people learned how to utilize their eggs for food and fallen feathers for crafts and clothing. Eventually, humans figured out how to capture these birds and keep them as pets or use them as sacrifices to a god. Unfortunately, the zeal that humans had for the materials that the Arabian ostrich provided resulted in overhunting and poaching.

Features of the Arabian Ostrich

Arabian ostriches were beautiful animals that had the same long legs and exaggerated features that today’s ostriches are so popular for. Male Arabian ostriches typically had black and white feathers, and the females had gray and brown feathers. It was the male’s job to attract female companions when it came time to reproduce. Unfortunately, there is not much more known about this species because it was not documented as well as animals are documented nowadays.

Interesting Facts About the Arabian Ostrich

While not much is known about the Arabian ostrich, there are a couple of interesting facts that humans have documented since their extinction.

1. They Lived Like Today’s Ostriches

 Arabian ostriches did not live much differently than today’s ostriches. They did live in desert environments, which many of today’s ostriches do not. They did eat food left behind by bigger animals, such as antelope, just like today’s ostriches do. They got water and found shelter the same way too.

2. They Turned Colors During Mating Season

When it was time to mate, male ostriches would turn a pink color to signal to females that they were ready to start making babies. Females would turn a silver color for a reason that has not been documented.



The Arabian ostrich is just a memory today, but in times past, the animal played a big role in humanity’s experience. They were not treated the best once it was learned how easily they could be exploited, which is why there are none left living today. We can learn a lesson about how to treat these majestic creatures that have been around since prehistoric times and ensure that no other ostrich species meet the same doom as this one did.

Featured Image Credit: Svetla Ilieva, Shutterstock