Emus Dromaius novaehollandiae are the second largest of the world's birds being 1.5-1.8 m (5-6 ft) tall with adult females weighing 41 kg (90 lbs). Males are slightly smaller.
Emu feathers have an aftershaft as large as the main shaft effectively creating a two veined feather. Also the barbs are too loose and far apart to zip up. This means that like the cassowary the Emu's feathers act more like hair. Emus are a uniform brownish colour except for the head which has black hairs and blue skin beneath, which s often visible as the hairs become patchy. Now only one species of Emu exists, but when Europeans first arrived in Australia, one if not three other species existed in Tasmania and on islands along southern Australia. These species and or subspecies are all now extinct.
Emus are nomadic, wandering wherever their search for food takes them They are more common towards southern Australia, though they do occur as far north as Darwin. The only place they definitely do not occur is in the northern tropical rainforests where they are replaced by the Cassowary.
Emus usually breed in the southern winter (May to August). Normally breeding occurs as a single pair. The male begins to incubate the eggs after 5-9 have been laid in the nest which is a low platform of leaves and twigs. The male does all the incubating which lasts about 8 weeks during which time he seldom leaves the nest and doesn't drink at all. The young, like the young of all Ratites, are 'precocial' and leave the nest in 2-3 days to start looking for food. They are prettily striped at first, but become more dappled as they get older.