Ostriches, Emus

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Emu's are the second largest birds in the world and the largest birds native to Australia. Ostrich is the largest bird in the world by height and a native of Africa. The emu have deep brown feathers and generally is very difficult to distinguish between the male and female of the species. However, during the mating season the emu hens grow black feathers on the head and the bare skin on the head turns blue. The male and female ostriches on the other hand have different colored feathers. The male ostriches have black feathers with white on the wings and tails while the females have grey brown feathers. The Emu has very strong legs with three toes which allow it to run at speed of upto 30 mph. The feet are said to be strong enough to kill a human. The Ostrich has extremely strong legs with two toes that are designed in a manner to enable it to run at speeds of upto 40 mph. The ostrich also have exceptionally large eyes in relation to their heads. In fact they are said to have the largest eyes among the land vertebrates.



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The Emu is the largest bird native to Australia. It is also the second-largest extant bird in the world by height, after its relative, the Ostrich. The Emu is common over most of mainland Australia, although it avoids heavily populated areas, dense forest, and arid areas.

The soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds reach up to 7 ft in height. They have long thin necks and legs. Emus can travel great distances at a fast, economical trot and, if necessary, can sprint at 50 km/h for some distance at a time. Their long legs allow them to take strides of up to 9 ft. They are opportunistically nomadic and may travel long distances to find food; they feed on a variety of plants and insects, but have been known to go weeks without food. They also ingest stones, glass shards and bits of metal that help squash food in the digestive system. They drink infrequently, often once every day or two, and ingest copious fluids when the opportunity arises. Emus will sit in water and are also able to swim. They are curious and nosy animals who are known to follow and watch other animals and humans. Emus do not sleep continuously at night but in several short stints sitting down.

Emus have a nail on their toes, akin to a knife, which is used in kicking away predators and opponent Emus. Their legs are among the strongest of any animals, allowing them to rip metal wire fences. They are endowed with good eyesight and hearing, which allows them to detect predators in the vicinity. The plumage on an eye varies regionally, matching the surrounding environment and improving its camouflage. The feathers allow the Emu to prevent heat from flowing into the skin, permitting it to be active during the midday heat.


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The Ostrich is a large flightless bird native to Africa. It is the only living species of its family. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at maximum speeds of about 70 km/h [the top land speed of any bird]. The Ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest egg of any living bird [extinct elephant birds of Madagascar and the giant moa of New Zealand laid larger eggs].

The diet of the Ostrich mainly consists of plant matter, though it also eats insects. When threatened, the Ostrich will either hide itself by lying flat against the ground, or will run away. If cornered, it can attack with a kick from its powerful legs.

The Ostrich is farmed around the world, particularly for its feathers, which are decorative and are also used as feather dusters. Its skin is used for leather products and its meat marketed commercially.

Ostriches usually weigh upto 130 kg with exceptional male Ostriches weighing up to 155kg. The feathers of adult males are mostly black, with white primaries and a white tail. However, the tail of one subspecies is buff. Females and young males are greyish-brown and white. The head and neck of both male and female Ostriches is nearly bare, with a thin layer of down. The skin of the females neck and thighs is pinkish gray, while the male's is blue-gray, gray or pink dependent on subspecies.

The long neck and legs keep their head 6 to 9 ft above the ground, and their eyes are said to be the largest of any land vertebrate – 2.0 in in diameter; they can therefore perceive predators at a great distance. The eyes are shaded from sun light falling from above.