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