The emu is the largest bird in Australia and the second tallest in the world after the ostrich. They have a large bulky body, covered in shaggy grey-brown feathers. Long, powerful legs with large three-toed feet, enable them to run up to 50 km/hour. They have tiny wings and are flightless. Their heads are near bald with sparse black feathers. The bill is black and they have red-brown eyes. Typically they stay in small loose groups but occasionally will travel in large herds.
Emu’s form breeding pairs in summer and courtship lasts for up to 5 months. Nests are built in winter, on a platform of grass and the female lays 5-15 eggs. The male forgoes food and water during an incubation period of two months. They become aggressive and protective during this time and the female leaves. Chicks can leave the nest and feed independently after 2-7 days but the male guards against predators for 5-7 months
Emu’s became extinct on several islands including Tasmania due to hunting by humans however they thrived on the mainland with the expansion of cereal farming and are now not considered threatened.