What do they look like?
Standing up to 2 metres tall, adult male emus are Australia's largest birds. In size, they are second only to ostriches in the world. Their powerful legs give them great speed, some running up to 50km per hour. At full pace, an emu's stride can measure up to 3 metres.
The emu belongs to a group of flightless running birds with flat breastbones known as ratites. Ratites are the oldest of modern bird families. They include kiwis, ostriches and cassowaries. The emu's feathers are very primitive and look like a form of coarse hair. The special nature of these feathers enables emus to cope with extreme changes in weather.
What do they sound like?
The emu makes a deep-throated 'drumming' sound by using its tracheal pouch, which is part of its windpipe. The tracheal pouch is over 30 cm long and very thin-walled, and it allows the bird to produce deep guttural grunts. This pouch develops fully during the breeding season and is most frequently used during courtship. The emu's call can be heard from more than 100 metres away.
Where do they live?
The emu is a hardy bird and will survive in most parts of Australia's rugged environment, but it avoids thickly forested regions. It thrives in remote places like the dry plains at Australia's centre, the tropical woodlands to the north, and the cold snowfields of the high country.