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National Birds — Australia


Australia’s national bird, the Emu is the world’s second-largest living member of the ratite (ra-tight) family of flightless birds. Most Ratites are now extinct; only the emu, ostrich, cassowary, kiwi and rhea are alive today.

The Emu was designated in 1960 by the Australian government to be their national bird, although some sources say this is not official. Either way, the Emu is a perfect choice as it is a native endemic species and important to the country ecologically and as a resource.

Photo Courtesy of CmdrGravy (Joe)

Emus can be six feet tall and weigh as much as 140 pounds. They are strong, fast runners with a long stride. They live in most of the less-populated areas of the continent and although they can survive in most regions, they avoid dense forest and severe desert.

The Emu is on the Coat of Arms of Australia


  1. March 19, 2008    

    Did you know that once upon a time (1932) the Aussie government declared war on the Emu and out went the army to shoot them down….interesting fact is that the army failed to kill them all given the fact and I quote “The emu have very effective guerrilla tactics and dont die when you shoot them”

    I am not kidding this really happened, you can find it all over as “Emu war”

  2. The Birdfreak Team The Birdfreak Team
    March 19, 2008    

    Daniel – that is so funny! Guess if you were going into battle you should bring along a few Emus!!

  3. March 19, 2008    

    Cool picture. That is an interesting fact about the Aussie government declaring war on Emus.We have people around here who raise Ostrich- (for the eggs I guess).they cost a lot of money.-One family bought 6.-Something happened where they all tried to escape and died-I think it had something to do with the type of fence they put up.-It was really an unfortunate thing to happen.-Probably shouldn’t keep them captive to begin with.

  4. March 19, 2008    

    Your post reminded me of one I created the next day I started blogging! It was about Peru’s national bird: Cock of the rocks!
    Love the idea of learning about national birds, post some more soon!

    edited by the BF Team to link to the wonderful post about Peru’s national bird

  5. The Birdfreak Team The Birdfreak Team
    March 21, 2008    

    Larry – interesting about the Ostrich; seems like it would be difficult to keep them captive and not worth the bother

    Melissa – cool post about the Cock of the Rocks; we’d love to visit Peru some day to see those and the many many other great birds!!

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