Syrian ostrich, Middle eastern ostrich
The Arabian ostrich (Struthio camelus syriacus ), Syrian ostrich, or Middle Eastern ostrich is an extinct subspecies of the ostrich that lived on the Arabian Peninsula and in the Near East until the mid-20th century.
Its range seems to have been continuous in prehistoric times, but with the drying-up of the Arabian Peninsula, it disappeared from the inhospitable areas of the Arabian Desert, such as the Rub' al Khali. In historic times, the bird seems to have occurred in two discrete relict populations: a smaller one in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula and a larger one in the area where today the borders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Syria meet. It was also present in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (in prehistoric times), Oman, and Kuwait. Eggshells of Arabian ostriches have been found on Bahrain, though this is likely not an introduction to the island, but a type of religious burial. Towards the Sinai Peninsula, it probably intergraded with the North African subspecies camelus in earlier times. It looked exactly like that form; possibly, the females were of a slightly lighter coloration. The only certain way to distinguish camelus and syriacus was the smaller size of the latter, with only marginal overlap: the tarsus was 390–465 mm long in syriacus versus 450–530 mm in camelus.