The ostrich is the world's largest bird, reaching up to seven or eight feet in height. It is a flightless winged creature that roams the landscape of Africa. Ostrich feathers have become a world commodity; they are plucked, dyed and sold to be used as household dusters, centerpieces and fashion accessories. If you are interested in buying ostrich feathers, it is important to know the different types that are available.
An ostrich drab feather can range from under 10 to over 22 inches in length. This type of feather comes from an ostrich's shoulder. The drab's stem, also called the quill, is thin and narrow. The fibers, or feather hairs, of drabs are thin, short and stiff. Ostrich drabs are dyed different colors and can be used to decorate art projects, floral arrangements or costumes.
Plumes are elegant feathers that come from an ostrich's wing. Plumes have stems about a pencil width thick and feather tips that gracefully dip downwards. Plume feathers are fuller when compared to drab feathers, and they are longer, from 20 to 30 inches in length. Ostrich plumes, like drabs and other types of ostrich feathers, are dyed different colors for commercial use. Plumes are typically used in decorative centerpieces, as well as in feather gowns and hats. Feminas are a type of plume feather.
The ostrich spad is a type of ostrich feather from the tail part of the bird. The spad can be 18 to 28 inches long. These feathers are thin and not as attractive or as full-looking as drabs and plumes. Commercial manufacturers steam and trim spad feathers to look like drab feathers. You can use spad feathers to decorate arts and crafts or circus costumes. You can also purchase women's hats that are decorated with ostrich spad feathers.
The ostrich nandu (or nondu) is a type of spad feather. The nandu feather is trimmed and reworked into a spear shape. The nandu's sheared quality and pointy tip make it narrower in size than plumes and drabs. You can use this type of feather as an accessory in Halloween or Mardi Gras costumes and masks.