STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Dromaius novaehollandiae

DIETShoots of plants, fruits, insects, small animals, and animal droppings

RANGEMainland Australia

HABITATSavannas, shrublands, and grasslands


Physical Description

The average emu height is 4.9-6.2 feet tall weighing 66-121 lbs. Females are slightly larger and heavier than the males. Emus have shaggy, brown to grey-brown feathers on their body with small wings. Their feathers are double-shafted, long, and loose, and they are less water resistant than other birds. An emu’s head and neck are mostly bare and are bluish-black in color.


Adult emus are relatively free from predation and are able to defend themselves using their feet and nails to strike and rip. Dingoes or wedge-tailed eagles are their only natural predators.


In the wild, they usually live 10-20 years, but they can live up to 35 years in human care.


The male will build the nest out of twigs, leaves, and grass on the ground. The female will lay 11-20 eggs every 2-3 days and will lay up to 3 clutches per season. Once the eggs are laid, the female will leave the male and may find another male to mate with. The male will stay with the nest for 8 weeks until the eggs hatch. He will lose up to 1/3 of his body weight during this time because he does not leave the nest while incubating the eggs; he will only get up to turn the eggs and to tidy the nest.

Fun Facts

  • They cannot fly, but they can travel long distances at 30 mph and are capable of jumping up to 7 feet in the air!
  • Emus are the tallest bird native to Australia and are the second largest living bird.

Conservation Messaging

Emus are considered the largest native bird in Australia. They serve an important purpose for helping to preserve habitats by being seed dispersal specialists! They will often eat seeds whole then defecate and disperse them along the way.

Even though Emu’s are considered stable, they are facing some threats to their natural habitats. One major issue is logging and clearing land for agriculture and property development. More than 50% of Australia’s land mass is used for agricultural purposes!

One thing that we can do is support sustainable agriculture practices. By purchasing products that are certified such as Bird Friendly Coffee, you are helping in the conservation of forests and habitats around the world.

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