Elobeid Abdelraheim Elobeid, Omdurman Islamic University, Sudan
Aisha Elfaki Mohamed, Wildlife Research Center, Sudan
Hussein Abdelrahim El Obeid, Sudan University of Science and Technology, Sudan
Hajer Idris Mohammed Osman, Omdurman Islamic University, Sudan
Ahmed El Amin, University of Khartoum, Sudan
Purpose: This study was conducted to evaluate captive ostrich behavioural patterns during the laying season.
Design/methodology/approach: The parent red-necked ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) flock (5 males and 7 females) was stocked from the wild (Dindir National Park) and accommodated in one breeding pen. The feeding plan was 14% crude protein and 09.23 MJ ME/ Kg. Behaviour was observed during one laying season of eight months (November–June).Behavioural patterns were observed during three randomly selected consecutive days of each month. Observations were done for 6 hours of daylight periods, morning (6:00–8:00 am), mid-day (10:00–12:00 pm) and evening (2:00–4:00 pm) on either males or females. The three categories of behavioural patterns observed were mobility (standing, walking, sitting, running and sandy bath), nutritional (feeding, drinking, pecking, urination-defecation and coprophagy) and reproductive (dancing, fighting and mating).
Findings: The mean daylight overall time budget for mobility was 64.74% for females and 67.44% for males. Standing time for both sexes was greater in the mid-day period, being 43.18 ± 13.14 min. for females and 47.20 ± 14.79 min. for males. Males morning walk (30.42 ± 8.62 min) exceeded the females (29.33 ± 7.76 min) with mid-day and evening walk time similar for either sex. No sitting was recorded for males during the morning period but both sexes were similar in sitting times during the other two periods. Males exhibited longer times in running during the three periods compared to females. No sandy bath was performed by either sex during the morning period but only the female bathed during the mid-day period (5.00 ± 2.68 min.) and evening (2.25 ± 2.28 min.). The mean daylight overall time budget for nutritional behaviours was 35.66% for females and 29.92% for males, with the female time values being higher than the male. The mean daylight overall time budget for reproductive behaviour was 8.88% for females and 13.11% for males. Mating was more common in the morning and evening than in the mid-day period.
Originality/value: It was concluded that the wild red-necked ostriches reared in captivity assume similar behavioural patterns to those remaining in the wild, although some captive circumstances impose minor differences. In this study, the percentage time spent in feeding was higher than that recorded by Berendsen (1995). The time spent feeding in captivity or searching for food in the wild depends on the availability and destiny of feed sources. Hot weather usually decreases the resting time compared to damper weather. The birds were seen during rains at sternal rest close to each other and this observation is the same as that cited by Deeming (1997).
Keywords: Red-necked; Ostrich; Behaviour; Laying season; Sudan