The emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is one of the largest flightless birds in the world—second only to ostrich. Emu is native to Australia. During the early 18th century there were two subspecies of emu bird: Tasmanian emu and the King Island emu. Both went extinct in 1780s.
Adult emus can reach a height of 150 – 190 cm that makes emus the world’s second tallest bird. The total length measures around 139 – 164 cm. Males weigh 40 – 132 pounds while females averaging 69 – 82 pounds.
Emus have pretty small bill measuring only 5.6 to 6.7 cm. It has pale-blue appearance with shaggy coat. The coat can become grey-brown in color.
Emus make homes in a variety of habitats such as sclerophyll forests, semi-deserts, dry forests, tropical forests, grasslands, and savannah woodland. They fancy living in habitats which receive as little as 600 mm of annual rainfall.
Emus eat cockroaches, beetles, cotton-balls, spiders, ants, ladybirds, millipedes, bogong, moth larvae, crickets, and grasshoppers. They will also consume grasses such as Casuarina and Acacia. Emus also eat some stones which help it in digestion.
They can run at a remarkable speed of 31 miles per hour. Emus can take a full stride of 9 feet.
Emus do not often drink but when they do they drink a lot. They will travel great distances in search of food.
Emus are diurnal birds in that they become active all day long. They spend their day bathing, resting, and foraging. Emus sleep 7 hours a day.
They produce a low sound of grunting or hissing sometimes resembling drum-beats.
The breeding season occurs in December and January. The female produces 5 – 15 green eggs in a nest built with sticks or grass. The emu bird’s eggs weigh 450 – 650 grams. Chicks are born after an incubation period of 60 days. The newborn weighs 17 pounds at birth.
Emus can live 10 years in captivity. In the wild their lifespan ranges from 5 – 7 years.
Predators of emu birds are dingoes, wedge-tailed eagles, red foxes, domestic dogs, monitor lizards, raptors, and feral pigs.