Dromaius novaehollandiae

ORDER: Casuariiformes
FAMILY: Dromaiidae

Height 5 to 6 feet; weight 100 - 120 lbs. (2nd largest living bird)

Australia; central and southern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and southern Australia

Savannah parklands, scrub and open plains

Wild - Omnivore; berries, fruit, grains, grasses and insects (considered pests and threat to crops by Australian farmers)

Zoo - Herbivore diet, omolene, lettuce, ratite diet


  • Locomotion -- A large flightless bird, the emu wings are rudimentary and used only for display.
  • Feathers -- coarse and hair-like, almost lacking barbules providing insulation and color.
  • Legs -- long, strong legs compensate for inability to fly with well adapted thigh muscles and are tipped with three nailed toes. At a full run, an emu obtains speeds up to 30 mph.
  • Beak -- The beak is broad and shallow mainly adapted for grazing.
  • Vision -- keen, and peripheral vision allows for protection against predators.
  • Mating habits -- reproduction is usually monogamous. The male exclusively cares for the eggs, although the female mayhelp him care for the young.
  • Maturity of young at hatching -- precocial. Chicks are born recocial, allowing for better protection since the nests are on the ground and in the open.
  • Swimming ability -- Emus have the ability to swim.

"Birds of the World," Austin, Singer
"Animal Life Encyclopedia," Dr. Bernhard Grzimek
"Encyclopedia of Aviculture, Vol. I," A. Rutgers and K.A. Morris