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Ostriches cape point cropped
Adult Ostriches, male and female
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Infraclass: Palaeognathae
Order: Struthioniformes
Latham, 1790
Family: Struthionidae
(Vigors, 1825)[1]
Genus: Struthio
(Linnaeus, 1758)[1]

Struthionidae is a family of flightless ratite birds which first appeared during the Eocene epoch. It is today represented by the sole living genus Struthio, but also contains several extinct genera.[2] Traditionally the order Struthioniformes contain the world's ratites, but recent genetic analysis has found that the group is not monophletyic, as it paraphyletic in respect to the tinamous.[3][4]


There are nine known species from this genus, of which eight are extinct. There are five more possible species of which trace fossils have been found. They are:

Fossil records and egg shell fragments show that the ancestors of this genus originated about 40-58 million years ago (mya) in the Asiatic steppes as small flightless birds. By about 12 mya they had evolved into the larger size of which we are familiar. By this time they had spread to Mongolia and, later, South Africa.[5]


The genus Struthio used to include the Emu, Rhea, and also the Cassowary, until they each were placed in their own genera.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Gray, George Robert (1855)
  2. ^ Mayr, G. (2009). Paleogene fossil birds. Springer.
  3. ^ Hackett, S.J. et al. (2008) A Phylogenomic Study of Birds Reveals Their Evolutionary History. Science, 320, 1763.
  4. ^ Yuri, T. (2013) Parsimony and model-based analyses of indels in avian nuclear genes reveal congruent and incongruent phylogenetic signals. Biology, 2:419–44.
  5. ^ Davies, S. J. J. F. (2003)


Hemipus picatus This article is part of Project Bird Taxonomy, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on every order, family and other taxonomic rank related to birds.


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