Common Name: Emu

Scientific Name: Dromaius novaehollandiae


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Struthioniformes

Family: Dromaiidae

Genus: Dromaius

Species: D. novaehollandiae


Animal Description The emus are about 1.75 meters in height. The male weighs about 50-55kg or 110 to 121pds. The female weighs about 5kg more than the male. Their feathers are long and shaggy like. They are a flightless bird like an ostrich. Their wings are only about 20cm long. This is tiny compared to their huge bodies. The emu is the second largest bird living today.

It has adapted to the wide-open plains of Australia because it is a very fast runner. The difference between an emu and an ostrich are the size, the emu is a bit smaller by about 1 meter in height.

Habitat In mainland Australia, the emu is widespread. It is found in desert areas only after heavy rains have caused growth of herbs and grasses and heavy fruiting of shrubs. The emu also lives close to Australia's big cities, but is no longer found where native vegetation has been cleared to provide agricultural land. Emus are also found in South Wales.

Population The population of emus depends on the rainfall. It is estimated that the population is around 625,000-725,000 overall. There are about 100,000 to 200,000 in Australia and the rest in South Wales. They are not close to being extinct or even endangered. Diet The emu has very nutritious food habits. It eats plants with very concentrated nutrients. Like seeds, fruits, flowers, and young shoots. They eat large pebbles that help ingest their food. In the wild they can be picky, they won’t eat dry grass or mature leaves.

Predators Their only predators are eagles when they are young and smaller in size, and buzzards and lizards while in the egg. Interesting Facts They can run up to 40 mph. They are the 2nd biggest bird alive. The Ostrich is 1st.

Author: Colin S

Published: February 2007

Photo Credit: Emu taken by Jeremy Scholz 2007, at Chaffee Zoo