- They produce an oil that has been used in medicine for hundreds of years. It appears to be able to treat inflammation.
- Are the second tallest bird alive today.
- Are adapted to long distance running and sprinting. They are the only bird to have calf muscles.
- Have extremely powerful kicks that can be used against predators.
- Their thin bushy feathers protect them from the sun.
Animals — Aves (birds) — Casuariiformes (emu relatives) — Dromaiidae (emus)
Emus are very large Australian birds that cannot fly. In fact, they are the second tallest bird species that is alive today! They are ratites, which is a grouping of many flightless birds that includes the ostrich, emu, cassowary and rhea, among others. They are mostly grey-brown with very fine shaggy feathers, which insulate the bird from sunlight.
Emus make a distinctive deep clicking sound which they make by inflating their neck sacs. These sounds can be heard 2km (1.24 miles) away! Impressively, they can also run at speeds of 50km/h (30 mph). They are also great distance travelers. They spend most of their time with other emus, and are very social. Staying in groups means they are more likely to spot predators.
Emus are classed as Least Concern (LC) as they are common across mainland Australia. This wasn’t always the case, as emus were extensively hunted. Bounties were given for each emu killed right up until the 1960s, and the emu is now extinct in Tasmania. However, they were put under protection and their numbers recovered in almost all areas.
Habitat: They prefer savannah forest, grasslands, and subtropical areas.
–Average weight: 38kg
–Average length: 1.8m (height 1.9m!)
In the wild up to: 10 years
In captivity up to: 20 years
Diet: They are omnivores and so eat plants and meat. They consume a lot of grasses and insects.
Distribution: Found across Australia.