Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 117 - Emu

After a run of birds from the UK, I'm back to Australia birds this week.  And this is a very Australian bird.

The emu is a large, maybe even huge, bird - 1.6 to 1.9 m tall and weighing in at 30 - 45 kg.  It is endemic to Australia - meaning it occurs nowhere else.  It can be found of most of the continent, but it's absent from Tasmania.  There were once smaller species on King and Kangaroo Islands, but these species are now extinct.

Both the common and scientific names have a tale to tell about the European settlement of Australia.  The name Emu is thought to be a corruption of the Portuguese word 'ema' which was used to describe all the large flightless birds that sailors encountered.  Equally investing is the idea that although the name is Portuguese in origin, it was bestowed on the Australian bird by Dutch sailors - Portuguese was a kind of "common tongue" between sailors in the East Indies in the late 1700's.

The scientific name reflects both the biology of the bird and the history of Australia - Dromaius novaehollandiae - means New Holland racer.  New Holland is an old name for Australia and the bird can run at around 50 kph (30+ mph) if needs be.  So this all makes sense.

These birds were doing nowhere near their top speed as they wandered past the boundary of the house we were staying in last week; this rather reduced the drama, but made for easier focusing!







 You can link up your birds by clicking the blue button near the bottom of this post!  But I'm sure most of you know this already!  Cheers SM

40 comments:

Chris Rohrer said...

Would love to see these birds out in the wild. Such amazing creatures and incredibly different from the birds here in North America. Large running birds!!!! Epic!

TexWisGirl said...

no link showing today.

TexWisGirl said...

i'll check back in an hour. cool emus.

Margaret Adamson said...

No link showing. Lovely Emus

Findlay Wilde said...

I bet they would empty the feeders pretty quickly. From Findlay

HOOTIN ANNI said...

The post came up...and I really liked the emu photos, but the linking is later than the post by about an hour.

I'll come back later.

My Birds HERE

Phil Slade said...

Hey Steawrt, where's Rod Hull not to mention the link?

Sylvia K said...

Beautiful Emus and great shots for the day, Stewart!!

Gunilla Bäck said...

They're huge birds when you see them up close. They have beautiful eyes.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

They remind me of Sandhill Cranes who've put on a few pounds, and set their wings aside to rest.

Karen said...

Incredible birds aren't they! Great captures Stewart. I rarely saw them, but when I did they were running at top speed.

Revrunner said...

At 30mph I couldn't even keep up with this bird on by bike even going downhill with a strong wind at my back. :-0

EG CameraGirl said...

Interesting-looking bird, Stewart. A farm near me has one but I have no idea where the farmer keeps it during the cold winter months.

Nette Cecilia said...

Nice birds and a nice shot ,Nette

Frank said...

Nice one Stewart.

Marie said...

Oh, what beautiful views of the emu! I especially love that last photo where they are going back into the woods together.

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Interesting bird and great close shots!

Janet Shaw said...

Awesome Emus! :)

Jo said...

This is the first time I see these birds in the flesh. They're a lot fluffier than I imagined. They also a lot prettier than our ostriches, which is our large, flightless bird. I like the scientific name. Thanks for explaining it and for sharing these beautiful images. Greetings Jo

Kusum Sanu said...

Beautiful pics of Emu- freely wandering. I have seen few in India but felt sorry for them. They were caged under the hot sun.

Linda W. said...

I love seeing photos of birds from far-away places. Thanks for sharing!

Andrea Priebe said...

They make a handsome pair ... they look a little wet, but that doesn't seem to hinder their appearance. Intersing information on how they came to be called Emus. A little confusing that the Dutch named them in Portugese, but hey, life is always a little confusing so I'll just go with the flow. You seem to be taking a lot of little trips these days ... work or play? Or, as I would have it, both! Have a great week Stewart ...

Andrea @ From the Sol

Lee said...

Emus certainly are intriguing birds...and they become intrigued very easily, too.

I've had a couple of encounters with them.

Small City Scenes said...

Odd and strange bird. Maybe tasty? MB

eileeninmd said...

Stewart, I always thought of the Emu as a farm animal.. Cool seeing them in the wild.. Great shots. Thanks for hosting, have a happy week!

Bethany Carson said...

What a neat-looking bird! Seems so exotic!

Christian Weiß said...

Very interesting birds and photos, in palaeontolgy there was the recent model for the reconstruction of bipedal walking of dinosaurs.

Brian King said...

I've only seen these guys at zoos. I've always found them interesting birds! Nice shots!

mick said...

Great Emu photos. To really understand how huge these birds are you need to be standing fairly close. They are much bigger than I had imagined the first time I was near one.

Susan (ABON) said...

Amazing birds and great shots of them, Stewart!

Irma said...

Beautiful pictures of the emu, Stewart.
These you see here only in the zoo.
Best regards, Irma

Ida said...

These are really cool birds. There are some people around here that have a couple on their farm.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Now that is one amazing backyard bird!

I have seen them at the Wildlife Safari here in Oregon and on farms a couple of times. Once my friend who lived in a semi-rural neighborhood complained that the down-the-street emu kept wandering into her yard and scaring her dog.

Would love to see them in their native habitat.

bailey-road.com said...

How wonderful to see these birds in the wild! Nice captures, Stewart.

bailey-road.com said...

How wonderful to see these birds in the wild! Nice captures, Stewart.

Pat Tillett said...

Beautiful photos Stewart! Is this beauty related to an ostrich or cassowary?

Hilary said...

They're such goofy cute creatures.

A Quiet Corner said...

Holy moosepoops they're fast!!!...:)JP

Adam Jones said...

I've learnt something today Stewart. Great post and what a bird.

Mary Cromer said...

Always so wonderful seeing these emus in the areas where they belong. Lovely share. I only get to see them at zoos and wildlife parks...sigh!!