Ostriches bury their heads in the sand when they’re scared or threatened.
Since this is quite an embarrassing accusation for the ostrich —intentionally self-suffocating?!—let’s take a minute to unpack this myth and clear the ostrich’s name.
First off, a note about the ostrich: Despite holding the title of the largest living birds—they stand 7 to 9 feet tall when fully grown—their heads are relatively small. This is important because from a distance, ostriches nibbling at food on the ground may appear to have their heads in the dirt.
Ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand—they wouldn’t be able to breathe! But they do dig holes in the dirt to use as nests for their eggs. Several times a day, a bird puts her head in the hole and turns the eggs.