Open plains, Eucalyptus forests
Wild: Seeds, fruits, flowers, young shoots, some insects
Zoo: Chopped meat
Incubation: 25 to 60 days, subject to long pauses
This is the second largest bird, being 5 to 6 tall, 7 long, and weighing up to 120 lbs. The emu has loose, hairlike, brownish-gray feathers tipped with black. The crown of the head and neck are black, and the head feathers appear to have a center part. The sides of the head and neck are bright blue. “Flight” and tail feathers are indistinguishable from the rest of the plumage. There are only about 6 or 7 wing feathers. Emus live in pairs or small groups of one male and several females. They spend the day foraging for the wide variety of food they eat. They swim well, and can run at 30 mph for some distance. The eggs are large, colored green, which later turns to black. The male then incubates the eggs and takes care of the young after hatching. It is the hen’s duty to defend the nest during the incubation period, which varies in length depending on how much brooding the parents do. The chicks grow quickly to adult size, but take 2 or 3 years to mature sexually. The emu has played an important part in aboriginal culture.