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Their palate differs from other ratites in that the sphenoid and palatal bones are unconnected.The common ostrich belongs to the ratite order Struthioniformes.Their skin varies in colour depending on the subspecies, with some having light or dark gray skin and others having pinkish or even reddish skin.

In much of their habitat, temperatures vary as much as 40 °C (72 °F) between night and day.Common ostriches can run at a speed over 70 km/h (43 mph) and can cover 3 to 5 m (9.8 to 16.4 ft) in a single stride.The feathers lack the tiny hooks that lock together the smooth external feathers of flying birds, and so are soft and fluffy and serve as insulation.Their temperature control relies in part on behavioural thermoregulation.For example, they use their wings to cover the naked skin of the upper legs and flanks to conserve heat, or leave these areas bare to release heat.

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