If you type in a query about an ostrich’s attraction to humans into a search engine, you’ll find multiple articles with stories of these birds coming to life when they see a person. It’s such a significant occurrence that research has even been conducted on this specific topic.

It may be strange for these giant birds to feel attracted to humans because these two species have very little in common. However, there’s no denying the fact that ostriches can become attracted to people.

Here’s what we know so far about this peculiar phenomenon.

leaves divider leaf

How Become Attracted to Humans

A strong determinant factor for ostriches becoming attracted to humans is the level of interaction they have with each other. Ostriches raised entirely by humans can end up developing an attraction to their handlers.

The type of attraction an ostrich develops leads to the bird believing that a human can become a suitable mate. In fact, many ostriches start to exhibit courtship behavior if they notice a human within their vicinity.

The sex of both the ostrich and human doesn’t seem to affect the frequency of attraction. Both male and female ostriches showed an increased display of courtship behavior in the prolonged presence of humans.

More research has to be done to find out the exact reason why ostriches can become attracted to people. However, scientists speculate that there’s a causal factor found with ostrich chicks raised by hand and their consistent interaction with humans. This increased frequency of interaction can cause the chicks to become sexually confused when they reach sexual maturity.

girl farmer of ostrich
Image Credit: StockCo, Shutterstock

leaves divider leaf

What Ostrich Courtship Behavior Looks Like

Farm-raised ostriches can start to display courtship behavior when they see a human walking closer to their enclosure. Male and female ostriches will engage in different kinds of behaviors.

Males will start to dance and prance around and fluff up and raise their feathers. They’ll also crouch on their knees and lean their necks back closer to their body.

Female ostriches will begin to display brooding behavior. They’ll also have their wings outstretched and will gently shake them, and they’ll keep their heads close to the ground and bob around.

Unfortunately, this mating behavior doesn’t increase the chances of male and female ostriches mating with each other. In fact, many farmers saw a lack of egg-laying even if they saw an increase in courtship activities. This finding indicated that the attraction and courtship behavior was directed at the farmers, not at other ostriches.

ostrich in the garden
Image Credit: Piqsels

Other Birds Can Become Attracted to Humans

Interestingly enough, the ostrich isn’t the only bird that developed a flirtatious attraction to humans.

Parrots can also develop a sexual attraction to their humans if they don’t have a mate. Unlike ostriches, parrots don’t engage in a courtship dance. Instead, they can become more aggressive and want to pluck out their feathers. They can also regurgitate their food in front of their owners.

There’s also a case of a White-Naped Crane by the name of Walnut that imprinted on people rather than other cranes. This crane showed strong aggression towards other cranes, so people needed to intervene and use artificial insemination to advance the conservation efforts of this endangered species.

leaves divider leaf


It’s common for domesticated pets to form bonds with their owners. However, it seems that wild animals can also develop bonds and become attracted to humans.

The connection between humans and animals is both evident and mysterious at the same time. It’s a peculiar occurrence, and it requires more research to draw definitive conclusions about the reasons why such bonds develop.

Featured Image Credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969, Pixabay