All areas of Australia except the rainforests and areas cleared for agriculture. They are less common in
deserts and the far north of Australia.
Emus are well adapted to survive in a variety of habitats including woodland, desert plains, shrub land and eucalypt forest as long as there is fresh water nearby.
- Emus are around five and a half feet tall (1.75 m).
- Males weigh about 110 pounds (50 kg); females weigh up to 120 pounds (60 kg).
- Emus have brown downy feathers that droop over their back forming a mop-like tail.
- They have long legs and dark gray-brown feet with three toes.
- They have long necks and small heads with bluish skin.
- They have tiny flightless wings.
What Does It Eat?
In the wild: Young shoots, seeds, fruits, flowers, insects and small vertebrates. They ingest large pebbles to help their gizzard grind up food.
At the zoo: Greens, mixed fruits and nutritious ratite pellets.
What Eats It?
The emu is preyed on by dingoes, eagles, foxes and monitor lizards.
Emus may be found alone, in small family groups or in large migratory flocks.
During the breeding season, females make dull rattling sounds to attract males, while males build nests made of leaves, grass and bark in shallow depressions under cover. After mating, the pair will defend the nest while the female lays a clutch of dark green eggs. Once the eggs are laid, the female will often seek out other males and mate again, while the male remains at the nest incubating the eggs. The same female may return or other females may come and lay additional eggs in the same next, so the male may incubate 15-25 eggs, many of which are not his. Once the male starts incubating the eggs, he will not eat, drink or defecate until the eggs hatch after about 56 days. Some females may stay around to help defend the male on the nest. Once the chicks hatch, the male becomes aggressive and may drive any females away. The newly hatched chicks have brown, black and cream stripes down their backs that help them blend into the grasses and shrubbery of their habitat. Chicks weigh about 14-18 ounces (400-500 grams). They follow the male around for five to seven months as they mature then disperse. This species is fully-grown and capable of reproduction at two to three years of age. Emus can live five to 10 years in the wild and longer in captivity.