Wildlife : The Emu

Post Number: 182

A friendly emu

Name: Emu

Scientific Classification: dromaius novaehollandiae

Alternative Names: bush chook

Location: they are found all over australia but they avoid forest, desert and areas populated by people.


Fast Facts:

  • They are the largest native bird in Australia and the second largest bird in the world – the largest is ostrich.
  • There are three subspecies of emu in Australia.
  • They are a big, brown, flightless bird that can reach up to 2 meters in height and run up to 70km per hour.  Their long legs can make strides of up to 2.75 meters.
  • They can live for over 20 years.
  • They are curious creatures and have been known to watch and follow humans.
  • They eat insects, plants and seeds and have been known to go for weeks without food.  They also ingest stones and other hard bits to help grind their food in their stomach.
  • Similar to camels, they don’t drink often, but when they do, they drink LOTS!
  • Their two muscly legs are equipt with big feet, each with three clawed toes, which make great defence weapons.
  • Emus breed once a year and can mate several times to lay several batches of eggs in one season.  The eggs are incubated predominantly by the males and the eggs hatch after eight weeks, revealing fluffy chicks with brown and cream stripes.  The dad brings the kids up and they are fully grown after about 12 months.
  • The emu feather is very unique – there are two rhachies to every quill and the vanes are not held together by barbs like most other feathers, making the emu feather furry and loosely packed.
  • Emu meat is low in fat, high in protein and has more vitamin C and iron than beef.


Cuteness Rating: If Keith Richards was an animal, he’d be an emu – they’re ugly.

Danger Rating:  They have strong legs with massive clawed toes for kicking.  Be careful you don’t get disemboweled.


Our Encounter:  Emus were everywhere in the Flinders Ranges from the south down in Mount Remarkable National Park all the way up past Wilpena.  We parked our car for lunch and a daddy emu and his six chicks strolled past the Troopy, and several times we’ve nearly hit a silly bush chook because it ran out onto the road.



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