- ostrich (n.)
- early 13c., from Old French ostruce "ostrich" (Modern French autruche) and Medieval Latin ostrica, ostrigius, all from Vulgar Latin avis struthio, from Latin avis "bird" (see aviary) + Late Latin struthio "ostrich," from Greek strouthion "ostrich," from strouthos megale "big sparrow," perhaps from PIE *trozdo- "thrush" (see thrush (n.1)). The Greeks also knew the bird as strouthokamelos "camel-sparrow," for its long neck. Among its proverbial peculiarities are indiscriminate voracity (especially a habit of swallowing iron and stone to aid digestion), want of regard for its eggs, and a tendency to hide its head in the sand when pursued.
Like the Austridge, who hiding her little head, supposeth her great body obscured. [1623, recorded in OED]Ostriches do put their heads in the sand, but ostrich farmers say they do this in search of something to eat.