Emu

Dromaius novaehollandiae

The emu is the largest bird native to Australia. It is the second-largest extant bird in the world by height, after its relative, the ostrich.

The emu is common over most of mainland Australia, although it avoids heavily populated areas, dense forest, and arid areas.

Emus use their strongly clawed feet as a defence mechanism. Their legs are among the strongest of any animal, allowing them to rip metal wire fences. They are endowed with good eyesight and hearing, which allows them to detect predators in the vicinity.

The plumage varies regionally, matching the surrounding environment and improving its camouflage. The feather structure prevents heat from flowing into the skin, permitting Emus to be active during the midday heat. They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and thermoregulate effectively.

Males and females are hard to distinguish visually, but can be differentiated by the types of loud sounds they emit by manipulating an inflatable neck sac. Emus breed in May and June and are not monogamous; fighting among females for a mate is common.

Females can mate several times and lay several batches of eggs in one season.