Sixteen red-necked ostriches (Struthio camelus camelus) were darted under field conditions to immobilise them. Combinations of etorphine hydrochloride with either medetomidine or ketamine were used on 13 birds; xylazine hydrochloride and metomidate alone were used, respectively, on one and two birds. The times to recumbency and recovery were recorded and compared. The principal complications encountered during the anaesthetic procedure were myopathy due to over exertion and respiratory collapse. Etorphine combined with medetomidine led to a sedated state of good quality but short duration, which allowed minor procedures to be carried out.