The animal kingdom encompasses creatures of all sizes, behaviors, life cycles, and physical features. Yet it never crosses one’s mind that confusion would arise between animals with similar characteristics such as the ostrich versus emu.
Both ostriches and emus are large flightless birds that belong to the Ratite family. They have long legs that enable them to run at high speeds. They are opportunistic omnivorous and will consume both fruits, vegetables, and even insects as needed for survival.
In the wild, ostriches live in open lands that are suitable for their running ability and periscopic vision. They are nomads that have evolved over 90 million years to roam vast tracts of land with ease. They may also migrate in order to find a new food source. While they are solitary in nature, they do become social when the advantages of being in numbers are evident.
Feathered Rivals: Navigating the Distinctive Traits of Ostriches and Emus
As far as their physical characteristics, ostriches can grow to 4 to 9 feet tall and weigh 140 to 320 pounds. They have long, slender necks that enable them to see danger from miles away. The emu, on the other hand, is native to Australia and inhabits sclerophyll forests and wooded savannas with open spaces.
The emu is a dominant female and is polyandrous, meaning it will mate with several males. The male is responsible for incubating the eggs and caring for the chicks. The emu can lay up to three clutches per year. The emu’s eggs are bluish-green in color, while the ostrich’s are cream-colored.