Emu

Images ©:
Bob Winters | Bob Winters

Dromaius novaehollandiae


Largest native bird, up to 200 cm. Wings are greatly reduced. Legs are long and powerful. Each foot has three forward-facing toes and no hind toe.


Details
Type
Bird
Group
Animals
Ratite
Biology

Breeding season: April to June. Clutch size is 5-15. Nesting takes place in winter. The male and female remain together for about five months, which includes courtship, nest building and egg-laying. The nest consists of a platform of grass on the ground. The large eggs (dark bluish-green) are laid at intervals of two to four days. The shells are thick, with paler green and white layers under the dark outer layer. The female dominates the male during pair formation but once incubation begins, the male becomes aggressive to other Emus, including his mate. The female wanders away and leaves the male to perform all the incubation. The male incubates the eggs without drinking, feeding, defecating or leaving the nest. During this time, eggs often roll out of the nest and are pulled back in by the male.

Distinctive Markings

Covered with shaggy grey-brown feathers except for the neck and head, which is largely naked and bluish-black.

Taxonomy
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Species
novaehollandiae

The Emu is the second largest living bird by height. It is the largest native bird in Australia.


Interesting Facts
Diet

Omnivore. Feeds on fruits, seeds, growing shoots of plants, insects, other small animals and animal droppings.

Habitat

Found in plains, scrublands, open woodlands, pastoral lands, semi-desert and margins of lakes.

Native Status
Native to Australia
Audio
Sounds
Booming, drumming and grunting. Booming is created in an inflatable neck sac, and can be heard up to 2 km away.