Five subspecies of ostritch or ostrich are delineated by experts:
S. c. australis located in Southern Africa, also known as the Southern Ostrich. This bird is actually found south of the Cunene and Zambezi rivers. In the Little Karoo area of Cape Province, it was once farmed for its feathers.
S. c. camelus located in North Africa, carries the moniker of both the North African Ostrich or Red-necked Ostrich. This subspecies lives in the most widespread area, from Ethiopia and Sudan to the Sahel to Senegal and Mauritania in the west. In earlier history, it was as north to Egypt and southern Morocco. This is the largest subspecies, weighing 340 pounds and 9 feet tall. The feathers of females is grey, while the neck is red, and the plumage of males is black and white.
S. c. massaicus in East Africa, known as the Masai Ostrich after the people of that area. This bird has some small feathers on its head with neck and thighs bright orange. The male’s neck and thighs become brighter during the mating season. Their range is essentially limited to eastern Tanzania and Ethiopia and parts of Southern Somalia to southern Kenya.
S. c. syriacus in the Middle East, is called the Arabian Ostrich or Middle Eastern Ostrich. This subspecies was very common in past on the Arabian Peninsula, Syria, and Iraq. History shows it becoming extinct around 1966.
S. c. molybdophanes is called the Somali Ostrich. The neck and thighs of this bird are grey-blue, with the male’s neck and thighs become bright blue during mating. The females are more brown than those of other ostrich subspecies. They generally live in pairs or alone, instead of flocks. This bird’s range overlaps with S. c. massaicus in northeastern Kenya.