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Rainy Retreats: Why Do Ostriches Sit In The Rain?

Ostriches, with their towering height and impressive speed, are among the most intriguing creatures of the avian world. However, a curious behavior often catches the observer’s attention: ostriches sitting in the rain. 

Given their non-waterproof feathers and natural inclination to seek dry refuge, this behavior might seem counterintuitive. 

Delving into why do ostriches sit in the rain unveils a range of fascinating insights into the ostrich’s adaptability and survival strategies. 

Contrary to the expectation of seeking shelter, these large birds have developed unique behaviors that enable them to thrive even in wet conditions. 

From altering their posture for thermoregulation to utilizing rain for cooling purposes, ostriches’ choices shed light on the intricate ways nature equips creatures to navigate diverse environmental challenges.

Why Do Ostriches Sit In The Rain

Why Do Ostriches Sit In The Rain? 

Ostriches are fascinating birds that have some unique behaviors. One of them is sitting in the rain, which may seem strange or even foolish to us. 

However, there are some possible reasons why ostriches do this:

To Cool Down

Ostriches live in hot and dry habitats, such as deserts, savannas, and grasslands. They have a remarkable tolerance to heat, but they still need to regulate their body temperature. 

Sitting in the rain may help them lower their body heat and prevent overheating.

To Clean Their Feathers

Ostriches have the largest and most numerous feathers of any living bird. Their feathers help them protect their skin from the sun, insulate their body, and attract mates. 

However, their feathers can also get dirty and dusty from their environment. Sitting in the rain may help them wash away the dirt and dust and keep their feathers in good condition.

To Drink Water

Ostriches can survive without drinking water for long periods of time, as they get most of their water from the plants they eat. 

However, they still need to replenish their water intake occasionally, especially when they lose water through sweating or breathing. Sitting in the rain may help them drink some water and stay hydrated.

To Enjoy The Sensation

To Enjoy The Sensation

Ostriches are curious and intelligent animals that have a range of emotions and preferences. 

They may enjoy the sensation of raindrops on their skin and feathers and find it relaxing or refreshing. Sitting in the rain may be a way for them to have some fun and pleasure.

To Socialize With Other Ostriches

Ostriches are social animals that live in groups of up to 50 individuals during the breeding season. They communicate with each other through vocalizations, body postures, and displays. 

Sitting in the rain may be a way for them to bond with other ostriches and show their affiliation and trust.

To Camouflage Themselves

Ostriches have predators such as lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, and humans. They have various ways to defend themselves, such as running away, kicking, or hiding. 

Sitting in the rain may help them blend in with their surroundings, as their plumage matches well with the sandy soil. This may make them less visible to predators.

To Incubate Their Eggs

Ostriches are the only living birds that have a single-chambered uterus, which means they can lay only one egg at a time. They lay their eggs in a communal nest that can contain up to 60 eggs from different females. 

The dominant male and female take turns incubating the eggs for about 40 days. Sitting in the rain may help them keep their eggs moist and warm and prevent them from drying out or cracking.

To Hatch Their Chicks

Ostrich chicks are precocial, which means they are fully developed and active when they hatch. 

They can walk, run, feed themselves, and follow their parents within hours of hatching. Sitting in the rain may help the parents soften the eggshells and assist the chicks in breaking out of them.

To Protect Their Chicks

Ostrich chicks are vulnerable to predators such as eagles, jackals, foxes, and mongooses. 

They rely on their parents for protection and guidance until they are about six months old. Sitting in the rain may help the parents shield their chicks from predators and harsh weather conditions and keep them close and safe.

These are some of the possible reasons why ostriches sit in the rain. 

What Do Ostriches Do When It Rains? 

What Do Ostriches Do When It Rains

Here are some possible reasons what do ostriches do when it rains:

Seeking Shelter

When rain starts falling, ostriches often seek shelter by huddling under trees, bushes, or any available cover to avoid getting wet. 

While they are large and powerful birds, their feathers are not waterproof, so they prefer to stay dry.

Fluffing Feathers

Ostriches have a unique way of keeping warm and dry during rain. They fluff up their feathers to create air pockets that act as insulation. 

This not only helps to maintain their body temperature but also prevents rainwater from penetrating through to their skin.

Reduced Activity

Ostriches tend to become less active during rainy periods. They might spend more time resting and conserving energy since wet feathers can make them feel heavier and uncomfortable, making movement more challenging.

Shaking Off Water

Ostriches, like many other birds, engage in shaking their bodies to remove excess water from their feathers. 

This behavior helps them get rid of some of the moisture and makes their feathers more effective at insulating their bodies.


After rain, ostriches engage in preening, a behavior where they use their beaks to clean and align their feathers. 

This process helps to remove any dirt, debris, or water that may have collected on their feathers during the rain.

Dust Bathing

While it might seem counterintuitive, ostriches sometimes engage in dust bathing even after rain. 

The dust helps to absorb excess moisture from their feathers and skin. Additionally, dust bathing is a natural way for ostriches to maintain the health of their feathers and skin.

Feeding Behavior

Ostriches might modify their feeding behavior during rainy periods. They could take advantage of the softer ground to dig for roots, insects, and other food sources that might be easier to access due to the moisture.


During rain, ostriches might gather together under sheltered areas. This could lead to increased social interactions and bonding among members of a group. 

Ostriches are social birds, and such circumstances offer opportunities for them to strengthen their social connections.


Ostriches may become more vocal during and after rain. Their vocalizations, which include grunts, hisses, and booming calls, might serve various purposes, such as communication between individuals, establishing territory, or maintaining group cohesion.

When it rains, ostriches display a variety of behaviors to cope with the wet conditions. From seeking shelter and fluffing their feathers to engaging in preening and dust bathing, these strategies help them maintain their comfort, hygiene, and overall well-being in the face of inclement weather.

Do Ostriches Like Water?

Ostriches are not very fond of water, but they can swim and float on the water if necessary. Ostriches live in hot and dry habitats, such as deserts, savannas, and grasslands. 

They get most of their water from the plants they eat, and they can survive without drinking water for long periods of time. 

However, they still need to replenish their water intake occasionally, especially when they lose water through sweating or breathing. Ostriches are sometimes spotted cooling off in rivers, pools, and lakes on exceptionally hot days. 

They may also take baths when given the opportunity to clean their feathers and enjoy the sensation. Ostriches have strong, powerful legs that can propel them across the water’s surface. 


Why do ostriches sit in the rain? 

Ostriches sitting in the rain might appear counterintuitive, but it serves a purpose. Rain can help them cool down in hot climates. 
As their feathers get wet, evaporation takes place, dissipating heat from their bodies. This behavior aids in regulating their body temperature and preventing overheating.

Do ostriches dislike staying dry? 

Ostriches’ feathers are not waterproof, making them susceptible to moisture. However, sitting in the rain doesn’t indicate a preference for wetness. 
They balance thermoregulation needs by using rain for cooling and then taking actions like fluffing feathers to stay warm and dry.

How do ostriches avoid getting chilled in the rain? 

After sitting in the rain, ostriches shake off excess water and fluff their feathers to create insulation. 
This helps them avoid getting chilled by ensuring that moisture doesn’t penetrate through to their skin. The fluffed feathers trap air, acting as a barrier against the cold.

Can ostriches catch diseases from sitting in the rain? 

Ostriches have evolved behaviors that minimize the risks associated with sitting in the rain. 
Their unique feather structure and preening behavior help prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms. Additionally, they often dust bathe after rain to keep their feathers and skin healthy.

Is there any social aspect to ostriches sitting together in the rain? 

Yes, there is. Ostriches are social birds, and sitting together in the rain under sheltered areas can foster social interactions and strengthen group bonds. 
This behavior might also help in sharing body heat and conserving energy during unfavorable weather conditions.


The enigma of why ostriches sit in the rain unravels a story of adaptation and resourcefulness. These remarkable birds have evolved to exploit rainy conditions to their advantage, showcasing nature’s inherent capacity for innovation. 

Through careful observation and scientific inquiry, we gain not only a deeper understanding of ostrich behavior but also a broader appreciation for the complexity of ecosystems and the creatures that inhabit them. 

Ostriches sitting in the rain exemplify the delicate balance between survival instincts and the unexpected ways in which animals exploit their surroundings. 

In the grand tapestry of the natural world, even seemingly perplexing behaviors like this remind us of the intricate web of life that continually astonishes and humbles us.

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