The emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is the largest native bird species in Australia and the second-largest bird in the world by height, after the ostrich. Here’s a description of the emu and its distribution:

Description of the Emu:

  • Appearance: Emus have long, slender necks, small heads, and long legs adapted for running. They are flightless birds with soft, shaggy feathers that are usually brown or gray in color. Emus have small vestigial wings that are not used for flight but instead help with balance and display during courtship.
  • Size: Adult emus can reach heights of up to 1.9 meters (6.2 feet) and weigh between 30 to 55 kilograms (66 to 121 pounds).
  • Behavior: Emus are diurnal birds, meaning they are active during the day. They are opportunistic feeders and primarily eat plants, including leaves, fruits, seeds, and flowers. Emus are also known for their ability to go long periods without food and water, which helps them survive in arid and semi-arid environments.
  • Habitat: Emus are found in a variety of habitats across Australia, including forests, woodlands, scrublands, grasslands, and semi-arid plains. They are particularly common in open habitats where they have access to food, water, and suitable nesting sites.
  • Reproduction: Emus are polygamous breeders, and mating typically occurs between May and August. After mating, females lay large green eggs in a nest constructed by the male. The male is responsible for incubating the eggs for around 8 weeks until they hatch. Once the chicks hatch, they are cared for by the male for several months until they are independent.
  • Conservation Status: Emus are classified as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). While they face some threats, including habitat loss, hunting, and vehicle collisions, they are widespread and relatively abundant across their range.


  • Emus are found throughout mainland Australia and are absent from Tasmania. They are distributed across various states and territories, including New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory.
  • Within these states and territories, emus inhabit a wide range of habitats, from coastal areas to inland deserts. They are particularly common in semi-arid and arid regions but can also be found in more densely vegetated areas.
  • Emus are adaptable birds capable of surviving in a range of environments, from temperate forests to arid outback regions. They are often encountered in rural and remote areas but can also be found in peri-urban and suburban environments, where they may come into conflict with humans due to habitat encroachment and agricultural activities.

Emu in Zoos

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