Male ostriches can roar like a lion. Now this roar that male ostriches make isn’t some form of bird imitation, like this swearing parrot, it’s a behavioural sound that comes naturally to them. And I might admit, it’s a pretty cool sound to make.
You may recall a few articles back that we discussed how some big cats can’t roar. To me, this seems to be a completely weird, maybe even unfair situation. Some large, deadly, and certainly terrifying predators lack the biological mechanisms to perform a spine-chilling roar, yet a bird, albeit a big one, can create a magnificent sound that is synonymous with a Hollywood studio. So why is it that male ostriches can roar like a lion even though they are a bird?
We all know what an ostrich is. It’s the largest bird in the world, and as a result of its size it is flightless. It can run extremely fast, which is good because it isn’t exactly the brightest light in the room. In fact, they have a tiny brain. This lack of cranial capacity may be the reason for some of the myths surrounding this bird, such as the one where it is supposed to plant its head into the sand to hide. But alas, they really don’t do anything fun like the emu, unless you take the fact that ostriches roar like lions into account.
The reason that male ostriches roar like a lion is primarily because of territory. They live in groups of about ten birds, with one dominant male. The male uses its large and deep grunting sound as a warning call. It is this grunt that is confused with the lions roar, except that it also has a hiss of air in it. It’s a terrifying signal for all and sundry to remain clear of his little pocket of land.
It has been said that the roar can be heard from several miles away and can be hard to distinguish from that of a lion.
After looking online for some evidence of a lion like roar, we were only able to come across two videos. Two videos on the whole entire internet! The video clearly showed an ostrich making a noise which could be interpreted as a roar, but I’m less than convinced by the sparse video evidence. It is possible that in the wild the roar is much louder and intimidating than the noises made by birds in captivity.
We have included a video of an ostrich roaring like a lion, basically superimposing an ostrich over the famous MGM lion. While this example ostrich doesn’t really sound like a lion, it is neither in the wild, or extremely loud. We can see, however, that from a distance it could be confused with the big cat. We’ll let you decide.