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Teacher's Prompt: Ostrich Eyelids

For this week's Wildlife Writing Wednesday, we wanted to offer some insight for you as the instructor in case:

  • you want to offer any introductory discussion for your students before releasing the prompt to them

  • it is helpful for you in your evaluation/understanding

  • this understanding helps you to alter the prompt for grade level


Ostriches are native to different regions in Africa. One of its primary habitats is a Savanna, which could be described as a combination of tropical and desert grassland. In the photo, you can see the Ostrich's nictitating membrane, which is one of three eyelids. Based on the environment the Ostriches live in, why do you think they would have three eyelids, and what would the eyelids be used for?

Ostriches are the largest bird in the world. In the photo below, you see a normal photo of an Ostrich with open eyes.

In the next photo (below), is a zoomed-in image of the photo for this week's prompt. This shows one of the Ostrich's three eyelids.

The white-colored eyelid is actually its nictitating membrane, which is a translucent membrane that forms an inner eyelid in birds, reptiles, and some mammals. It can be drawn across the eye to protect it from dust and keep it moist. (Oxford Dictionary)

For a visual of the African regions to which the Common Ostrich is native, visit

You will find its primary habitat is a Savanna. National Geographic has a detailed description of this habitat/ecosystem online at


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