The Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) in the Birds.
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Dromaius novaehollandiae

Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)
Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)


The Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is one of the birds studied in the Ratites. In this group are also included the Ostrich, Rheas, Cassowaries and other land birds. These birds have lost the ability to fly, their bodies, legs and wings evolving to adapt to a terrestrial life.


The Emu is natural of Australia. It is normally founded in the central regions of the continent. It also inhabits the grasslands of the south and it could be seen in other places.

When the people from Europe reached Australia there was another species of the Emu in Tasmania and still another in Kangaroo island. These two species, along with another possible subspecies, are now extinct.

Dispersals, of up to 345 miles, do occur as a result of the rainy and dry seasons.


According to some documentation we have read, the Emu is not as aggressive as the Cassowaries; still it is not as docile as the Rheas.


Plains and grasslands.

Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), chest feathers
Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), chest feathers.


Considered abundant throughout its distribution.


Normally stays in groups of three to four. It is possible that during dispersals (having to do with the rainy and dry seasons) these groups join, forming gatherings of thousands of them.


The male incubates the eggs and takes care of the chicks. One or more females deposit from five to ten eggs each. The usual clutch is from five to twenty eggs. The color of the eggs is dark bluish green and although much smaller than the Ostrich, they are of good size. Incubation takes about 56 days. The young will accompany the father for about six months. They mature from two to three years of age.


The basic diet consists of seeds, fruits, flowers and other vegetable materials. Complements this diet with insects.


The male and female have similar appearance. The females are slightly bigger. The feathers of the body are gray; so is the color of the skin on the legs. The neck is gray with a shade of blue. The head is dark gray. The feathers of the chest are light, not quite white.

The Emu reaches five feet almost nine inches in height; of the living birds second only to the Ostrich. The males weight about 110 pounds, while the average for the females is about 120 pounds.

Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), another view of the
Another view of the Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

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Last revision: February 1, 2007
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