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Australian Native Birds - Emu

Updated on January 27, 2018
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Peter has been a birdwatcher since he was a young lad. He would love to share with you images and stories about Australian birds !

Emu - Mum

Emu - circa 1971 via 35 mm transparency.  Copyright - Agvulpes
Emu - circa 1971 via 35 mm transparency. Copyright - Agvulpes

The Emu

The Australian Emu (Dromaius novaehollaniae ) is Australia's largest bird just under the size of the Ostrich. Fortunately for us the Emu is not capable of flying but is able, and does, walk long distances to gather it's food.

The Emu can also run quite fast when it needs to and has been clocked at speeds of 50 km per hour.

The Emu is unique as it features on the Australian Coat of Arms with our great Marsupial the Red Kangaroo.

Would there be any other country in the world that would eat both of the animals that are its Icons?

It is not widely known but Emu Oil is reported to have high levels of omega 3 and can be used as a skin moisturizer, anti-inflammatory for things like arthritis, sore muscles and joints that ache!

Emu chicks

Emu chicks looking for Mum - image taken 1971 and via 35mm transparency. Copyright -  Agvulpes
Emu chicks looking for Mum - image taken 1971 and via 35mm transparency. Copyright - Agvulpes

Emu - Quick Facts

Some quick facts about the Australian Emu:

  • The Emu, although it has quite large wings, is like the Ostrich and is Flightless.
  • Shares the spotlight on the Australian Coat of Arms with the Kangaroo.
  • Emus are quite tall and can measure 2 meters high.
  • The female emu can lay up to 20 eggs but most of the incubation is done by the male Emu.
  • The dad Emu, as well as incubate the many eggs laid, seems to tend the chicks when they are hatched.
  • The Emu chic has a striped looking 'down' but this disappears after the chic reaches about 4-5 months of age.
  • The Emus double shafted feathers are loose and tend to look floppy and shaggy but this helps the Emu cope more easily with the extreme in the climate.

Old Man Emu

A now famous and older John Williamson made the Emu famous when he wrote and sung the song titled Old Man Emu.

It was done in the early 60s and since then John has gone on to become an Icon in the Australian music scene.

Emus - Beware

Some time ago while Oliversmum and myself were holidaying on the Western Coast of Victoria and we stayed at a lovely town called Warrnambool. One day we decided to visit a National Park called 'Tower Hill' which is officially Victoria's youngest Volcano. Whilst driving through this park we noticed a flock of Emu and thinking that they were tame and being none the wiser we stopped for a closer inspection.... I will let Oliversmum tell you the story in her own words:

"Hi all :) :) ... Agvulpes has asked me to say something about Australia's national bird the Emu. OK then this is just a little something to be aware of with Emu's.

As Agvulpes has said this real life story took place many years ago in a national park called Tower Hill, located in a lovely part of our home state Victoria, Australia.

We were driving through Tower Hill and came across this mob of Emus and decided to stop and watch them for a while, (btw In National Parks animals have ROW at all times) of course we remained in our car.

One particular Emu was getting very inquisitive about what I had in my hand (it was an ice cream) something that obviously smelled or looked very good.

I'm sure had the Park Rangers noticed what was going on, they would have politely told me that Ice Cream was not on the diet of an Emu! :)

Unfortunately for me that did not happen.

This Emu was getting pretty agro with me, and who was I to argue, being a lot taller and weighing a lot more than me, this Park was it's home and not mine, so I stupidly held out the Ice Cream to the Emu.... BIG MISTAKE...

The Emu latched on to my forefinger with it's beak and it was vice-like, it would not let go... The pain was excruciating,... eventually it did let go, but my finger was squashed flat, and until this very day it is still that way and my fingernail will not grow.

So the moral of the story is: Do not put your hand anywhere near an emu, although they are a magnificent bird be aware of what damage they can do with their beak and also their very powerful legs. Oliversmum. :) :)."

There you go folks, straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Hmm... not a good choice of words.

Maybe should have said 'straight from the Emu's mouth'


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