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At one year of age, common ostriches weigh approximately 45 kilograms (99 lb). The feathers of adult males are mostly black, with white primaries and a white tail. Females and young males are greyish-brown and white.The head and neck of both male and female ostriches is nearly bare, with a thin layer of down.The common ostrich shares the order Struthioniformes with the kiwis, emus, rheas, and cassowaries.However, phylogenetic studies have shown that it is the sister group to all other members of Palaeognathae and thus the flighted tinamous are the sister group to the extinct moa.
The reduced number of toes is an adaptation that appears to aid in running, useful for getting away from predators.The wings also function as stabilizers to give better maneuverability when running.