Dromaius novaehollandiae

Emus are the second largest living bird in the world.

The largest living bird is the ostrich. Emus and ostriches along with rheas, kiwis, and cassowaries belong to a group of flightless birds called ratites.

An emu has two kinds of eyelids.

One pair of eyelids is solid for blinking and shutting the eyes. The other eyelid works like a pair of goggles. It is transparent and allows the emu to see while protecting the eye from dust.

Emus are flightless, but not voiceless!

A male emu makes a sound like a pig’s grunt. Female emus make a deep booming sound.

Animal Facts

  • Range Australia. Emus inhabit most of the continent, except the tropical areas of northeastern Australia.
  • Habitat Emu's habitats include grassland, dry forest, wooded savannah, and semi-desert.
  • Diet Emus eat both plants and animals, making them omnivores. Seeds, flowers, roots, and fruit make up the plant part of their diet. During the dry summer months, they also eat insects and small animals. At the Zoo they eat ratite pellets, a food specially made for these large birds. They are also offered grass and leafy browse, plus oyster shells for extra calcium.
  • Size 5 to 6 feet tall, 80 to 90 pounds.
  • Location in Zoo Roo Walkabout
  • Conservation Status Least Concern. Emu are numerous in their natural range and in no danger of extinction.

Did You Know?

Only male emus sit on nests. They do all the care for their eggs and chicks, including going without food and water for over fifty days while they wait for their eggs to hatch.