The emu is a large, flightless bird that is native to Australia. It is the second tallest bird in the world, growing to a height of about 7 feet and weighing around 56 kg. It is grey in colour with a bluish head and gentle-looking eyes. Did you know that the emu is the only bird in the world with calf muscles in its legs? Even though it cannot fly, its sturdy legs help it run at a top speed of 48 km/h and jump 7 feet vertically up!

The emu has three toes on its feet, one of which is a long dagger like claw that is potentially dangerous. The emu however, is not known to kill humans, though it will defend itself if provoked.

The emu eats plants and insects and can store food as fat for times when supplies run low. It also has a sixth sense for finding water and travels many miles on foot to find it.

Emu fathers are very devoted. The female emu lays a clutch of eggs and then leaves the parenting to the male. The male emu bird incubates the eggs over a period of 50 days, during which it does not eat or drink! It loses up to a third of its body weight during this time and then looks after the hatched chicks for 2 years till they become independent.

Did you know that in 1932, Australia waged a war against emus? And lost? Soldiers were called in to help eradicate a group of 20,000 emus who were eating up wheat fields in Western Australia. After making several attempts to kill the emus, the soldier accepted defeat and returned home! Even machine gun fire proved ineffective against these highly intelligent and strategic birds who evaded every tactic employed against them!

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) lists the resourceful and resilient emu as a species of ‘Least Concern’, as its populations are stable across Australia.

Picture Credit : Google

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