The emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is the second tallest bird in the world after the ostrich. They are seen less often than kangaroos and numbers appear to be stable or slightly on the increase.


In some very dry years hundreds of birds migrate in search of water and food and man made obstacles such as the rabbit proof fence stop their movement across the country. Many die from thirst and starvation when this occurs.


If you see an adult emu with chicks then it is certain the adult will be the male who takes responsibility their upbringing while the female wanders off to do what ever it is that females do.


Emus can be up to 1.9 metres high and weigh in at 45 kilograms. The emu is taller than but also lighter than its closest living relative the Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius).


It is thought that 'emu' is not a aboriginal word but came instead from Arabic and means simply 'large bird.'


The emu is found only in Australia (as a native species) and is found across most of the continent except in tropical rainforest or in very arid areas.




Like the Tasmanian Tiger, the emu was hunted to extinction in Tasmania and two dwarf species also suffered the same fate. On mainland Australia the emu population is actually higher than it was prior to European settlement. Current estimates put emu numbers across the country at between 500,000 and 900,000.


The emu was the first bird species that was verified as producing genetically identical twins.


The emu holds the land speed record for birds travelling at 31 miles (50 km) per hour.


Emus breed during the cooler months with the parents staying together for about 5 months. Females lay from 5 to 15 eggs and once the incubation process begins the male becomes aggressive driving away any other emus including his mate. The eggs hatch after about 55 days and during this time the male guards the eggs and will not leave them. The young emus will stay with their father for about 6 months and will be fully grown at 1 year. At 20 months they are fully mature and can breed.


Emu farming is carried out with the products being skin, feathers, meat and oil. Infertile eggs are sometimes 'blown' and used for carving. Despite being a bird, emu meat is considered 'red' meat due to its PH value and colour.







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