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Emu: Dromaiidae

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Emus And PeopleGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS

Emus are found throughout Australia. They are most common in southern Australia although they can be found as far north as the city of Darwin.

Emus live in eucalyptus forests, woodlands, shrublands, desert, sandy plains, grasslands, and high alpine plains.

Emus are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and flesh. They prefer plant parts that are rich in nutrients they need, such as seeds, fruits, flowers, and young shoots. They also eat insects, such as grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars. More rarely, they will eat lizards, snakes, small rodents, and small marsupials (animals that have a pouch). They usually drink water every day and get some of the liquid they need from plants. They also swallow pebbles to aid with digestion.


The emu is not listed as threatened by the IUCN. Two species, the Kangaroo Island emu and the King Island emu, as well as one subspecies, the Tasmanian emu, became extinct in the 1800s due to hunting by humans.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Davies, S. J. J. F., et al. Bird Families of the World. Vol. 8, Ratites and Tinamous: Tinamidae, Rheidae, Dromaiidae, Casuariidae, Apterygidae, Struthionidae. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Elwood, Ann, and John B. Wexo. Ostriches, Emus, Rheas, Kiwis, and Cassowaries (Zoo Books). Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 2000.

Fowler, Allan. These Birds Can't Fly. New York: Bt Bound, 2001.

Harris, Timothy. Ostriches, Rheas, Cassowaries, Emus, and Kiwis. New York: Beech Publishing House, 1997.

Simpson, Ken, and Nicolas Day. Birds of Australia. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.


Periodicals:

Adil, Janeen R. "It's an Emu (That's Who)." Ranger Rick (April 2002): 21.

Davis, Karen. "Nowhere to Hide." Poultry Press (Fall–Winter 1993): 1–5.

Grice, D., et al. "Density and Distribution of Emus." Australian Wildlife Research 12 (1985): 69–73.

Rokicki, Rachel. "The Great Emu Comeback." Mother Earth News (October 2000): 16.


Web sites:

American Emu Association. http://www.aea-emu.org (accessed on July 12, 2004).

"Emus & Ostriches." Animals Australia. http://www.animalsaustralia.org/default2.asp?idL1=1273&idL2=1304 (accessed June 6, 2004).

Ivory, Alicia. "Dromaius novaehollandiae." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Dromaius_novaehollandiae.html (accessed June 6, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirds