Do Ostriches Spit? | Ostrich Spitting

Ostriches are flightless birds that show many interesting characteristics, one of which is the ability to run so fast. Even though they are so unique, they show many similarities with flying birds which makes us wonder about many things like- Do ostriches spit? 

Do Ostriches Spit?

Like other birds, ostriches spit. The ostrich spitting is an adaptation for living because ostriches must regurgitate their food like other birds to feed their young ones. They may also spit saliva when furious or to convey a message.

Ostriches even puke or spit up a little every time they drink water which makes quite clear about their habit of spitting. This activity may depend on the individual ostriches. Some may show it while some may not.

Ostrich may spit worn-out stones and pebbles because just like other birds, ostriches have gizzards in which they use the stones to grind their food. Due to their huge size, their Grizzard’s size is more than other birds and thus, ostriches eat more stones.

An adult ostrich may contain about 1 kg of stones in its gizzard. These birds are not capable of digesting stones and thus, spit them out when they become soft and useless. Many times when an ostrich has seen spitting stones, it is, in reality, emptying its Grizzard. 

Spitting is not only used for defense purposes but also to show dominance. Ostriches may spit at you if they assume you as an invader in their personal space. The spit of ostriches is a mixture of their saliva and partially digested food.

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Some people believe that a bird spitting on its owner is preferably a sign of showing love. However, in ostriches, this might not be the case. Ostriches do not show their love for someone in such ways.

Ostriches do not spit to dispel predators as a defense mechanism, unlike some other birds. Their spit does not have special components that help them in any way in defending.

When using spitting for defense purposes, birds use different techniques. Ostriches have not acquired such techniques.

Related Read: Do Ostriches Live In Zoos?

The birds that use spitting for defense include:

• European Roller

• Turkey Vultures

• Northern Fulmar

European Rollers spit an orange foul-smelling fluid to keep away predators.  Turkey Vultures also use the same strategy. The other reason for their spitting is that they empty the stomach this way which helps them in keeping their body light while flying.

The northern fulmar projects their stomach oils by spitting on to the predators to destroy their waterproof coating. The oil does not let the wings dry and it becomes difficult for the predator birds to fly.


Ostriches are interesting birds with many distinct characteristics from other birds. The common behavior that ostriches share with other birds is spitting.

Ostriches often spit normally and not for some special reason like defense. The spit may seem gross but it is normal for birds to spit including ostriches. The reason behind spitting may vary from bird to bird.

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