Emu

Dromaius novaehollandiae

Bert and Ernie are two of the most charismatic, random, and funny birds you’ll ever see. Their unpredictability makes them a joy to watch, whether they’re galloping around their field or annoying the wallabies!

Species Information

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Emus are native to Australia. They live across the country, ranging from coastal regions to high in snowy mountains, but are most common in savannah and sclerophyll woodlands.

They are the second tallest bird in the world and the only birds to have a gastrocnemius (calf) muscle. This powerful muscle aids the emu’s ability for sustained running speeds of over 30mph. They have two sets of eyelids, one for blinking and the other for keeping the dust out!

They eat fruits, seeds, plants shoots, insects and sometimes lizards.

Up to 20 years in the wild and 25 years in captivity.

Emus are usually solitary but will form large flocks when migrating to better food resources.

A male will mate with one female and then look after and incubate a clutch of 5-15 emerald green eggs for 8 weeks by himself. A male loses about a third of their body weight in this time as they will not leave the nest and will only get up to move the eggs or tidy the nest. A female, on the other hand, will find another male to mate with or even lay more fertilised eggs in another male’s nest for them to rear. Once hatched, the male will look after chicks for about 18 months, teaching them to find food and protect themselves from predators.

Least Concern

They may not be fast enough to escape some of their predators, but when at full speed they can turn 180 degrees by positioning one of their wings in the air and one towards the floor. By the time a predator, such as a dingo, turns around, the emu can be a further 30 yards away!!