Giant ostrich performs funky dance to attract female at rehab sanctuary

Ostriches are the world's largest bird. Reaching a height of almost 3m (9 feet) and weighing up to 135kg (300lbs), they are also the most powerful bird in the world. A fully grown bird is capable of delivering a kick that can severely wound or even kill a human, lion, or other large predator. Their long legs are more adapted for high speed, making the giving the ostrich the ability to reach speeds of more than 90kmh (60mph). But they are equipped to defend themselves with these legs, if needed, as their toes have elongated claws that could eviscerate an animal who attacks it. The force of the kick could also do enough damage to mortally wound a predator. It's no surprise that very few people have ever seen an ostrich in the wild close up. Even if the bird allowed the approach, the risk would be too great.

But this wildlife sanctuary and rehabilitation centre in Akumal, Mexico provides guests with a rare opportunity to get up close to the ostriches. They centre will provide homes for injured animals that need extended care, and also for those that are seized or confiscated by authorities from illegal trade. Some of their animals were illegally held as pets and have been brought to the centre because they could never be released into the wild.

These ostriches are familiar enough with humans that they are not disturbed by a respectful approach, and the wooden rail fence that separates them from guests is all that is needed.

The ostriches here have plenty of food, ample grounds to wander, and excellent health care. As a result, some of the behaviours they exhibit are the same here as they would be in the wild. This large male proves that he is every bit as focused on attracting a mate as he would be in the wild. With great confidence, he struts and spreads his wings to show the ladies what a fine genetic specimen he is. He shows off his generous plumage, his immense wingspan, and even his funky dance moves. As he squats on the ground, he bobs his head back and forth as if in time to a beat that only he can hear. He rubs his neck all the way across his back in a display that captures the interest of the two females in his pen. They both watch carefully and respond with wide eyes as they move closer. It's not clear how much credit he's getting for the ability to dance, but the spectacle catches the attention for everyone at the fence too.

To see these giant birds from a few feet away is an unforgettable experience.