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The Emu or D. novaehollandiae is the second-tallest living bird after the ostrich, its ratite relative. It is endemic to Australia, where it is the largest native bird and the only extant member of the genus Dromaius.

D. novaehollandiae or Emus are soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds with long necks and legs, and can reach up to 6 ft 3 in. in height. Emus can travel great distances, and when necessary can sprint at 30 mph.

They forage for a variety of plants and insects, but have been known to go for weeks without eating. They drink infrequently, but take in copious amounts of water when the opportunity arises.

Breeding takes place in May and June, and fighting among females for a mate is common. Females can mate several times and lay several clutches of eggs in one season.

Although flightless, Emus have vestigial wings, the wing chord measures around 8 in. and each wing having a small claw at the tip. Emus flap their wings when running, perhaps as a means of stabilising themselves when moving fast.

When walking, the D. novaehollandiae or Emus takes strides of about 3.3 ft., but at full gallop, a stride can be as long as 9 ft. Its legs are devoid of feathers and underneath its feet are thick, cushioned pads.

The neck of the emu is pale blue and shows through its sparse feathers. They have grey-brown plumage of shaggy appearance; the shafts and the tips of the feathers are black.

Solar radiation is absorbed by the tips, and the inner plumage insulates the skin. This prevents the birds from overheating, allowing them to be active during the heat of the day.

A unique feature of the emu feather is the double rachis emerging from a single shaft. Both of the rachis have the same length, and the texture is variable; the area near the skin is rather furry, but the more distant ends resemble grass.

The D. novaehollandiae or Emus sexes are similar in appearance, although the male’s penis can become visible when he urinates and defecates. The plumage varies in color due to environmental factors, giving the bird a natural camouflage.

Feathers of emus in more arid areas with red soils have a rufous tint while birds residing in damp conditions are generally darker in hue.

The juvenile plumage develops at about three months and is blackish finely barred with brown, with the head and neck being especially dark. The facial feathers gradually thin to expose the bluish skin. The adult plumage has developed by about fifteen months.

The D. novaehollandiae or Emus eyes are protected by nictitating membranes. These are translucent, secondary eyelids that move horizontally from the inside edge of the eye to the outside edge. They function as visors to protect the eyes from the dust that is prevalent in windy arid regions.