In the world of birds, there’s always confusion between Emu and Ostrich due to their appearance and similar looks. To be very clear, ostrich and Emus are two different birds. Find out more differences in the below lines.
The ostrich is native to Africa and is said as the world’s heaviest bird on the planet. It roams the Savannah in large flocks.
Whereas the Emu is a native of Australia and lives in small groups in woodlands and scrublands. Both the emu and ostrich are big, flightless birds.
When it comes to size, there is no doubt that ostriches are the clear winners. They tower over emus, with a maximum height of 9.2 feet compared to 6.2 feet for emus.
Ostriches also tend to be heavier than emus, with a maximum weight of 145 kg compared to 65 kg for emus.
However, this does not necessarily mean that ostriches are better equipped to survive in the wild. Emus are actually faster runners than ostriches, and they are also able to withstand higher temperatures.
But there are some other major differences between these two creatures. Let’s take a look at what makes each one unique.
Ostrich vs Emu -Which one is bigger?
Ostriches are literally enormous in terms of size and weight, not just amongst birds but also in the world of animals.
- The Common ostrich weighs between 63 and 145kg
- The height of a male Common ostrich ranges from 2.1 to 2.8m. Female Common ostriches range from 1.7 to 2.0 m
- On average, the Emu weighs between 18 and 60kg
- The average heights of emus are 1.56m (5ft 1in) for females and 1.48m (4ft 8in) for males.
In the above, we can see Ostriches are much larger than emus, weighing around three times as much. They are also taller, typically standing at least a quarter meter taller than an emu. Ostriches are very strong and powerful birds compared to emus.
Although emus are still large in their body. But, their smaller wings mean that they are not able to fly. This is not the case for ostriches, which have powerful wings that enable them to take to the air.
Generally, we see that males are more powerful than females in birds. But not in the case of emus. Female emus can be seen extra taller and heavier than males. Whereas male ostriches can weigh twice as much as female ostriches.
Which is faster emu or ostrich?
When it comes to running speed, Ostriches are the fastest runner in the animal kingdom. They can comfortably reach speeds of 45mph (70kph). Emus, while not quite as fast as ostriches, are still excellent runners and can attain speeds of 30mph (50 km/h). Both birds hold a good amount of energy levels and can run for longer periods of time.
The ostrich is actually the best runner in the world of birds kingdom. They can run at a pace of 35MPH for 30 Minutes or so. Emus also have the potential to run at good speed covering 25 to 30mph in an hour.
Ostrich and Emus have strong, muscular legs that help them to cover a great distance with each stride. Their legs actually generate energy like elastic, allowing them to store energy and then release it for extra speed. In fact, ostriches can cover up to 5 meters in a single stride!
Reproduction and nesting
In the above lines, we have already got to know that female emu are bigger than males, which is quite unorthodox. But there’s a catch behind this.
Female emus are dominant over males and are polyandrous, meaning they mate with 1 or more males. This is likely because females are better able to protect and provide for their young when they have more than one mate.
Studies have shown that females with multiple mates produce healthier offspring than those with just one mate.
The male emu is a devoted father, incubating and brooding chicks from multiple fathers. He will even take on the brunt of the incubation duties if the female is unable to do so.
The female emu, on the other hand, is a fierce competitor. She will compete with other females over unpaired males, rather than the other way around.
Emus mate for life, and it is not uncommon for a pair to stay together for several years. However, there is some evidence that reproductive dominance is the reason for being larger and heavier than male Emus.
They also have a higher level of testosterone. Researchers believe that this hormone imbalance gives females an advantage during the breeding season, leading them to mate with multiple partners.
Male ostriches are more powerful and aggressive, while female ostriches are relatively submissive. Every single male ostrich mates with a ‘harem’ of several females.
The size of the harem varies depending on the ostrich’s location but typically contains between three and eight females.
During the mating season, the male ostrich will aggressively defend his harem from other potential suitors. Once a female has been successfully repelled, the male will then turn his attention to mating.
He will court her with an elaborate series of displays and calls, before finally mounting her and achieving fertilization.
After mating, the male will continue to defend his harem against rivals until the eggs have hatched and the chicks are able to fend for themselves. By that time, he will often move on to another harem of females, starting the cycle anew.
Emus are as it is – Broods of multiple parents that will often merge into one large flock, and these flocks can number in the hundreds.
Male and female differences
Female emus are actually slightly larger than males. Both genders of emu have similar plumage, though the feathers of females tend to be a darker shade.
In contrast, male ostriches are much larger than females, with some males reaching over nine feet in height and 50kg extra weight than males.
Males also have more brightly colored plumage than females, making them easier to spot in the wild. While Ostriches are more sexually dimorphic than emus, there are still many similarities between the two species.
If we compare their lifespan, Ostriches have a long life. Ostriches can survive their lifespan up to 50 years whereas, emus only can live up to 20 years.
when it comes to eggs, both ostrich and emus lay heavy eggs. But in terms of size, ostrich eggs are slightly large which is around 6 inches and the weight is 3LB. With Emus, they range from 5 inches with a weight of 2LB.
The emu can lay up to 20 eggs at a time, and the eggs are a greenish-blue color. With ostrich, the eggshell can range from white to pale blue or green, and it is often dotted with brown spots.
Ostriches can lay up to 18 eggs. The most interesting fact about ostriches and emus is that they lay the largest eggs of any bird in the world.
Ostriches are curious and social creatures, often gathering in small groups to feed or travel. They typically communicate through a series of grunts, hisses, and other vocalizations, and will also use their long necks and legs to express themselves physically.
Ostriches are also known for their impressive running abilities, reaching speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. When threatened, they will often run away from danger rather than face it head-on.
However, if an ostrich feels cornered, it can be quite dangerous, using its powerful legs to kick and even kill an attacker.
Both have a number of unique adaptations that allow them to thrive in harsh environments. As they cannot fly, they mostly go on walking for longer periods of time hunting for food and water.
They are good walkers because of their strong legs and can cover long distances without any tiredness.
Generally, emus are not violent but the females can be aggressive once they start breeding. Several cases have come to the conclusion that emus have attacked humans.
Ostriches, on the other hand, are more dangerous than emus. They will often run away from danger rather than face it head-on.
But, if they feel cornered, especially in the breeding season they can be pretty threatening, using their powerful legs to kick and even kill.
Diet and foraging Differences
These two birds have an omnivorous diet. Both ostriches and emus consume a wide range of plants, animals, and insects. They are more fond of eating beetles, centipedes, spiders, and bees. This helps them to survive in their harsh habitats.
Ostriches and emus have a unique way of grinding and digesting their food. Both species consume a large number of stones and grit, which they store in a muscular sac located in their gullets.
When they eat, the stones and grit are mixed with their food and then crushed by the bird’s powerful muscles. This process helps them to grind up the food and make it easier for the bird to digest.
Ostrich has very long feet with knife-like talons. It’s the same with the Emus too. But ostriches carry their all weight on only two toes whereas emus got three toes.
Ostriches, despite having only two toes, are super fast and carry all their heavy body on their toes which is quite astonishing.
Which is more common, Emus or Ostriches?
Ostriches are native to South Africa and it has got two species – The most common ostrich and the Somali ostrich. With Emu, you have only one species out there.
According to the World Ostriches Association, there are about 150,000 ostriches living in the world today. On the other side, emus are close to
725,000, substantially a bit higher than the ostrich.
Emus are more common compared to ostriches. Ostriches are low in conservation and high demand for habitats in south Africa. Whereas, emus can be seen in some states of OZ.
Are Ostriches and Emus related?
Although they may look similar, emus and ostriches are actually not very closely related. Emus are native to Australia, while ostriches are native to Africa.
However, both birds are members of the family Struthionidae, which contains a number of flightless bird species like Ratites.
The closest living relatives of emus and ostriches are kiwis and cassowaries, rheas which are also found in Australia.
The Ratites are a diverse group of flightless birds that includes the ostrich, emu, rhea, and cassowary. Although these birds share a common trait of being unable to fly, they are otherwise quite different from one another.
Scientists have long been baffled by the curious fact that several species of flightless birds are found on opposite sides of the world.
How did these birds end up in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and South America?
And do they even share a common ancestor? One theory is that these birds descend from a flying ancestor who was blown off course by a strong wind and landed far from home.
The currently accepted theory is that the common ancestor of the Ratites did not walk the Gondwana supercontinent, as was previously thought.
New evidence suggests that these flightless birds actually evolved independently after the continent broke up.
This theory is supported by the fact that Ratites are found on every continent except for Australia and Antarctica, which were never part of Gondwana.
A new theory suggests that the Ratites, a group of flightless birds that includes the ostrich and the emu, are actually closely related to Tinamous, a group of terrestrial birds that can fly.
According to the theory, Tinamous originally evolved from flying ancestors, but at some point in their history, they lost the ability to fly.
Meanwhile, the Ratites evolved from Tinamous ancestors who never regained the ability to fly. The theory is based on a comparison of the two groups’ DNA, which showed that they are more closely related to each other than previously thought.
If the theory is correct, it would mean that the Ratites are not, as was previously believed, a separate evolutionary line.
Instead, they are simply a group of birds who lost the ability to fly. The theory is still tentative, and more research is needed to confirm it.
Which is native to Australia – emus or ostriches?
Emus are from Australia. You won’t find ostriches in AU. Ostriches are from Africa and are in two common species – ostrich and Somali ostrich. Some people mistakenly believe that Australia is home to ostriches. In reality, there are no ostriches in Australia.
My self Mark. I have been birding for the last 10 years. Birdwatching is and will be my favorite hobby.