Ostrich ‘sex change’ flummoxes Indian zoo

While a leopard cannot change his spots, ideally an ostrich shouldn’t change its sex. But it seems the unthinkable has happened in Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park.
 
Nearly a year after their procurement from Dubai, the park authorities in India have suddenly discovered that its popular ostrich couple is not a couple after all, but in fact a pair of male birds.
 
The ostrich pair was purchased in June 2010 at Rs300,000 from a bird dealer, who in turn sourced birds from the emirate, according to Times of India.
 
However, a month into its new habitat, the seven-month-old female of the pair died during the quarantine period.
 
A few months later, a replacement of the large flightless bird was sourced with a new ‘female’ brought in to strut her stuff in front of her new male partner.
 
But the strutting clearly has been put to a stop a year later with authorities realising they were duped into buying a female ostrich, which is in fact male; this discovery was made when the birds turned two and showed off their black plumage.
 
Dr P Srinivas, veterinary assistant surgeon at Zoo Park told the Indian newspaper: “Male ostriches have jet black feathers with white wing and tail plumage and bright red or blue skin. The females have grey-brown feathers and skin.” 

 

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