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At one year of age, common ostriches weigh approximately 45 kilograms (99 lb). The feathers of adult males are mostly black, with white primaries and a white tail. Females and young males are greyish-brown and white.The head and neck of both male and female ostriches is nearly bare, with a thin layer of down.The common ostrich is farmed around the world, particularly for its feathers, which are decorative and are also used as feather dusters. massaicus) averaged 115 kg (254 lb) in males and 100 kg (220 lb) in females, while the nominate subspecies (S. camelus) was found to average 111 kg (245 lb) in unsexed adults.

Hybridization with the subspecies that evolved southwestwards of its range, S. massaicus, has apparently been prevented from occurring on a significant scale by ecological separation, the Somali ostrich preferring bushland where it browses middle-height vegetation for food while the Masai ostrich is, like the other subspecies, a grazing bird of the open savanna and miombo habitat.

The population from Río de Oro was once separated as Struthio camelus spatzi because its eggshell pores were shaped like a teardrop and not round.

Common ostriches can tolerate a wide range of temperatures.

In much of their habitat, temperatures vary as much as 40 °C (72 °F) between night and day.

Their skin varies in colour depending on the subspecies, with some having light or dark gray skin and others having pinkish or even reddish skin.

The strong legs of the common ostrich are unfeathered and show bare skin, with the tarsus (the lowest upright part of the leg) being covered in scales: red in the male, black in the female.Four living subspecies are recognised: It has some small feathers on its head, and its neck and thighs are pink.During the mating season, the male's neck and thighs become brighter.The common ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest eggs of any living bird (extinct elephant birds of Madagascar and the giant moa of New Zealand laid larger eggs).The common ostrich's diet consists mainly of plant matter, though it also eats invertebrates. When threatened, the ostrich will either hide itself by lying flat against the ground, or run away.Common ostriches can run at a speed over 70 km/h (43 mph) and can cover 3 to 5 m (9.8 to 16.4 ft) in a single stride.

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