Struthio camelus syriacus Rothschild, 1919:83

Arabian ostrich, Na-ama, Near Eastern ostrich



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status


Last record: 1941 (Day, 1981)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct


A dying (or dead) Arabian ostrich was apparently brought down into the Hasa Valley in 1966; the first specimen seen since 1941, when a specimen was shot in Bahrain (Day, 1981). However, the validity of this record has been cast into doubt as it is so long after the last record of such a large species, and within a geographically limited area.



Arabian Peninsula


Biology & Ecology




Two specimens are in the British Museum, as part of the Aharoni collection (Robinson & Matthee, 1999):


BMNH 1939.12.9.1020 

BMNH 1988.15.1


GenBank database entries:

AF073001 (

AF073018 (






Original scientific description:

Rothschild, Walter. (1919). Description of a new subspecies of Ostrich from Syria. Bull. Brit. Ornithol. Club 39: 81-83.


Other references:

Aharoni, I. (1938): On Some Animals Mentioned in the Bible. Osiris 5: 461-478. [relevant reference?]

Ahroni, J. (1927). Syrische Strausseier. Beitr. Fortpfl.-biol. Vög. Berlin 3: 186-188.

Alomfa, M. K. (1978). Notes on the Present Avifauna of Hesban. Andrews University Seminary Studies 16.1: 289-303.

BirdLife International. (2012). Struthio camelus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. ( Downloaded on 30 August 2013.

Bodenheimer, F. S. (1960). Animal and Man in Bible Lands. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

Brown, L. H., Urban, E. K. and Newman, K. (1982). The birds of Africa, vol. 1. London: Academic Press.

Carruthers, D. (1922). The Arabian Ostrich. Ibis 1922: 471-474.

Cheeseman, R. E. (1923). Recent notes on Arabian ostrich. Ibis 1923: 208-211, 359, and plate 4.

Day, David. (1981). The Doomsday Book of Animals: A Natural History of Vanished Species. New York, N.Y.: The Viking Press.

Elzanowski, Andrzej and Louchart, Antoine. (2022). Metric variation in the postcranial skeleton of ostriches, Struthio (Aves: Palaeognathae), with new data on extinct subspecies. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 195(1): 88-105.

Folch, A. (1992). Family Struthionidae (Ostrich). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions.

Forbes-Watson, A. D. (1967). Eggs of the Arabian Ostrich. African Journal of Ecology 5(1): 167.

Freitag, Stefanie and Robinson, Terence J. (1993). Phylogeographic patterns in Mitochondrial DNA of the ostrich (Struthio camelus). The Auk 110(3): 614-622.

Gourichon, L. (2004). Faune et saisonnalité: l'organisation temporelle des activités de subsistence dans l'Epipaléolithique et Néolithique précéramique du Levant nord, Syrie. Thèse. Lyon, France. L'Université Lumière Lyon 2.

Harvey, D. 1973 Area A. Andrews University Seminary Studies 11.1: 17-34.

Hue, F., and Etchecopar, R. D. 1970 Les Oiseaux du Proche et du Moyen Orient. Paris: N. Boubde.

Hume, Julian Pender and Walters, Michael. (2012). Extinct Birds. London: T & AD Poyser.

Islam, M. Zafar-ul, Boug, Ahmed and Shobrak, Mohammed. (2008). Conservation status of re-introduced red-necked ostrich in Mahazat as-Sayd, Saudi Arab, pp. 91-95. In: Soorae, P. S. (ed.). Global Re-Introduction Perspectives: re-introduction case-studies from around the globe. Abu Dhabi, UAE: IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group.

Jennings, M. C. (1986). The distribution of the extinct Arabian ostrich  Struthio camelus syriacus Rothschild, 1919.  Fauna of Saudi Arabia 8: 447-460. [pp. 447-461?]

Joshua M. Miller, Sara Hallager, Steven L. Monfort, John Newby, Kelley Bishop, Scott A. Tidmus, Peter Black, Bill Houston, Conrad A. Matthee, Robert C. Fleischer. (2011). Phylogeographic analysis of nuclear and mtDNA supports subspecies designations in the ostrich (Struthio camelus). Conservation Genetics 12: 423-431.

Keller, O. (1913). Die antike Tierwelt 2. Leipzig: W. Engelmann.

Knox, Alan G. and Walters, Michael P. (1994). Extinct and endangered birds in the collections of The Natural History Museum. British Ornithologists' Club Occasional Publications 1: 1-292.

LaBianca, O. S. and von den Driesch, A. (1995). Birds, reptiles and amphibians, pp. 131-168. In: LaBianca, O. S. and von den Driesch, A. (eds.). Hesban 13. Faunal Remains: Taphonomical and Zooarchaeological Studies of the Animal Remains from  Tell Hesban and Vicinity. Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press.

Laufer, Berthold. (1926). Ostrich egg-shell cups of Mesopotamia and the Ostrich in ancient and modern times. Anthropology Leaflet No. 23. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History. 51 pp.

Low, Carmichael (1929): , List of the vertebrated animals exhibited in the gardens of the Zoological Society of London, 1828-1927; Volume II. Birds. Printed for the Society; England.

Lowe, P. R. (1933). [Egg shell fragments of Struthio camelus syriacus]. Ibis 1933: 652-658.

Meinertzhagen, R. (1954). Birds of Arabia. Edinburgh & London.

Paz, U. (1986): Birds, Vol 6; part of: Plants and animals of the land of Israel. An illustrated encyclopaedia. Ed. Alon, A. Ministry of Defence and SPNI, Israel (In Hebrew). [photograph of pair with chicks bred in captivity?]

Prater, Stanley Henry. (1921). The Arabian ostrich. The Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 27: 602-605.

Prater, Stanley Henry. (1923). The Arabian Ostrich, pp. 43-46. In: A Survey of the Fauna of Iraq. Made by Members of the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force "D" 1915-1919. Bombay.

Robinson, Terence J. and Matthee, Conrad A. (1999). Molecular genetic relationships of the extinct ostrich, Struthio camelus syriacus: consequences for ostrich introductions into Saudi Arabia. Animal Conservation 2(3): 165-171.

Schønwetter, M. (1928). Eier von Struthio camelus syriacus. Orn. Monatsb. 36: 176-177.

Studer, J. (1996). La faune romaine tardive d'Ez Zantur, à Pétra, pp. 359-375. In: Stucky, R. A. Ez Zantur I. Ergebnisse der Schweizerisch Liechtensteinischen Ausgrabungen 1988, 1992. Terra Archaeologica II. Mainz: Stiftung für Archaeologische Forschungen im Ausland.

von Strassen, O. (1926). Brehms Tierleben 6. Leipzig: Bibliographisches Institut.


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