Our Birds - Emu
Our Animals > Emu
ABOUT THE EMU:
The Emu is the largest bird native to Australia and the only extant member of the genus Dromaius. It is also the second-largest extant bird in the world by height, after its ratite relative, the ostrich. The soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds reach up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height. The Emu is common over most of mainland Australia, although it avoids heavily populated areas, dense forest, and arid areas. Emus can travel great distances at a fast, economical trot and if necessary, can sprint at 50 km/h (31 mph) for some distance at a time. They are opportunistically nomadic and may travel long distances to find food; they feed on a variety of plants and insects, but have been known to go weeks without food. Emus will sit in water and are also able to swim.
The Emu subspecies that previously inhabited Tasmania became extinct after the European settlement of Australia in 1788; and the distribution of the mainland subspecies has been influenced by human activities. Once common on the east coast, Emu are now uncommon; by contrast, the development of agriculture and the provision of water for stock in the interior of the continent have increased the range of the Emu in arid regions. They are farmed for their meat, oil, and leather.