Emu is the second largest bird on the planet (after the ostrich) and the largest bird in Australia, where it lives. prefers life in forests, thickets, meadows and forests. Emu is a flightless bird whose ancestors lived at the same time as dinosaurs. They share certain anatomical features such as bones and ankles with dinosaurs. There were three types of emus in the past, but two were critically endangered. People hunt emu for feathers, meat, and fat.
Their name is Latin for ‘fast-footed New Hollander’.
Emu is very large bird. Females are slightly larger. Emu reaches between 5 and 6.5 feet in height. It can weigh up to 130 pounds.
The male emu incubates the eggs.
Emu has long neck, sharp beak and small ears. Its body is covered with light-brown feathers. Each feather has a double shaft. Emu has small wings which provide stability during running.
The emu appears in many different Dreaming stories told by Australia’s diverse Indigenous communities, including a common creation story about how the sun was generated by an emu egg in the sky.
Emu has two eyelids. One eyelid is used for blinking, while other prevents dust and sand to enter the eyes.
The emu is a common motif in Indigenous art and ceremonies.
Emu has three toes on each foot. Their legs are strong and built for running. Also, they use legs for kicking the predators when faced with danger.
They can’t walk backwards.
Emu requires water on a daily basis. During cold weather, they recycle air in the nasal passages for creating the moisture that can be used.
They appear on Australia’s 50 cent coin.
Unlike water, emu can survive long periods without food. It stores fat that is used as a source of energy when the food is scarce.
The Light Horse units of the Australian Defence Force have also worn emu feather plumes in their hats since the late 19th century, a tradition that continues today.
Emu is an omnivore (eats both plants and animals). It likes to eat caterpillars, large insects, small lizards, rodents, flowers, seed, buds and shoots.
Emus are found all over Australia, both in arid inland areas as well as along the coast, but they’re most common in the southeast corner of the country.
Emu swallows small rocks and pebbles to facilitate grinding of food and accelerate digestion.
Plenty of sports teams are named after them.
Emus are usually solitary animals, but they sometimes travel in pair. Emu can gather in flocks when large quantity of food is available.
Emus normally weigh around 35kg and females are slightly larger because of their big backside, designed for egg laying.
Emu is a fast running animal. It can reach 30 miles per hour.
They have two sets of eyelids, one for blinking and the other for keeping the dust out!
Emu is also excellent swimmer. It can easily cross the river while looking for food and new feeding areas. Emu can travel thousands of miles each year.
Emus are the only birds with calf muscles.
Emu mates during summer and lays eggs during cooler months. Female lays between 8 and 10 eggs. Since the eggs are large, female lays one egg every 2 to 3 days.
And while they generally only enter the water when necessary, they are reportedly strong swimmers.
Eggs are dark green in color, have thick shell and weight of around one pound. Male sits on eggs during the next 8 weeks, until they are ready to hatch. During that time, male does not eat but uses stored fats as a source of energy.
Emus store lots of fat when food is plentiful, providing fuel for leaner times, and also seem to have a sixth sense for finding water, sometimes trekking hundreds of miles to get it.
Emu chicks are active as soon as they hatch. Their body is covered with stripes of brown and creamy-colored soft feathers that provide camouflage. After three months, their plumage starts looking like feathers of adult animals.
The emu’s feathers direct rain away from its body as it sleeps.
Emu can survive between 5 and 10 years in the wild.