An adult emu may reach two metres in height and can weigh up to 45kg, making them the tallest bird inhabiting Australia. They are outweighed by only one other bird in Australia- their relative, the cassowary. The feathers of an emu are double shafted, giving the birds a loose, shaggy look. Emus are brown in colour, although the intensity of this colour varies according to the season of year, changes in surroundings and the behavior of nearby birds.
Although they have feathers, they cannot fly because their wings are too small. Also due to the structure of the feathers they are no longer capable of creating lift. This open structure serves the sole purpose of insulating against the elements. Emus have three toes, the underside of these toes is flattened with a small pad, to aid traction over rough terrain.
Emus are found throughout Australia in almost all habitat types.
Emus feed mainly on grass, flowers, seeds, fruits and insects. Emus also consume stones which aid in the digestion process.
Emus are sexually mature at around two years of age. Breeding season will usually occur between April and November. Normally emus are silent, but during breeding season, the female will make a deep, booming noise. Emus will lay a clutch of 6-11 eggs which are dark grey-green in colour and are about 13.5cm in length and 9cm wide.
It is up to the male to take care of the eggs during the 60 day incubation period and he is the sole parent for up to two years after the eggs hatch. After laying her eggs the female will find another wandering group and usually another mate with which she will lay another clutch of eggs. Female emus can lay several clutches of eggs to numerous males in one breeding season.
This bloke is a real character, as are all the emus. He has a light coloured plumage, and a 'cool hair do'!
Eddie became part of the Australia Zoo family after being rescued from a nearby forestry area. He was in very poor condition and very hungry when we took him in. Since coming to live at Australia Zoo Eddie has flourished and now lives with his friend Eric.