|Emus Dromaius novaehollandiae near Esperance, Western Australia.|
|Kangaroo Island Emus, by French self-taught natural history artist Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, who|
sailed with the Baudin expedition of 1800-1803. While visiting Kangaroo Island they captured two
unfortunate emus and took them back to France.
|Emus on the Hay Plain, south-western New South Wales.|
Like most ratites, Emus are polyandrous, though they start off the breeding cycle as a pair in mid-summer, and dally for about five months. In late May and June she lays up to 20 large dark green eggs in a scrape on the ground, totalling up to 15kg. Not surprisingly, she reckons by now that enough is enough, and she plays no further part in the process, though if she’s still feeling frisky she can go off and do it all again with someone else! Each time she leaves the father in sole charge. He broods for eight weeks, and during the whole time he lives off his body reserves without eating, drinking or defecating, rousing only to turn the eggs several times daily. In this part of the world eggs were apparently laid in about July, which meant that the male was incubating in the snow.
|Emu eggs, north-western New South Wales.|
|Darwin's Rhea Rhea pennata and chicks, Torres del Paine NP, Chilean Patagonia.|
The striped Emu chicks can walk within hours, and run and swim within a week. As they get older, they are distinguished from older birds by a dark neck and head. Dad cares for them for 18 months, so he only breeds every other year.
|Emu with young chicks near Cue, inland Western Australia.|
|Father and older chicks, northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia.|
|Shaggy Emu plumage.|
|Emu feather; the aftershaft is as long as the main shaft.|
|Southern Cassowary Casuarius casuarius, Etty Bay, north Queensland.|
|Emu drinking near Esperance, Western Australia; note the conspicuous part along the spine.|
|Southern Cassowary, Mount Hypipamee NP, north Queensland.|
|Male Common Ostrich, West Cape NP, South Africa.|
|North Island Brown Kiwi Apteryx mantelli;|
photo courtesy Wikipedia.
|Darwin's Rhea Rhea pennata and chick with Guanaco (which gives an idea of how relatively small the bird is)|
Torres del Paine NP, southern Chile.
|Darwin's Rheas near Punta Arenas, on the Strait of Magellan, above and below.|
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