The Outstanding Difference Between An Emu And An Ostrich

When you think of the giant birds in the world, an Emu and an Ostrich come to mind, right? The two are undoubtedly the big birds, but how can we tell the two apart? In this article, we will elaborate on the difference between an Emu and an Ostrich by their specific features so read on and learn more.

Their Native Lands

The principal distinction between these birds is that an Emu is a second biggest bird in the world that is native to Australia, while the Ostrich, the giant bird in the world, is native to Africa.


Emu inhabits sclerophyll forests and wooded savannas, which offer a lot of open space, while Ostrich inhabits savannas and semi-deserts.


An ostrich with its chicks

When it comes to coupling, Ostriches tend to mate with 5 to 7 female Ostriches, while Emu’s are known to only stick to one female bird throughout the mating season. Emu’s are believed to have acquired their name because of the male bird’s sound, the “ee-moo. “

The female Emu makes a loud, booming, echoing sound. The female Emu makes these sounds to attract the male. Once the male is enticed, the male then builds a nest within his territory. After the nest is complete, the female joins him.

A male ostrich

On the other hand, an Ostrich’s skin turns blazing red during the breeding season to let the hens know that a male ostrich is ready to mate. The male draws in as many hens as possible by dancing, fluffing his feathers, fluttering his wings, and swinging his head around while getting on his knees.

The male Ostrich finds his voice during the breeding season and uses loud, hollow booms to entice hens. The male is a successful breeder and draws more females to his harem since he has the most audible voice and elabowings as she holds them out from her sides. She moves her beak open and shut while bobbirate dance style.

The female Ostrich shakes the tips of her head and holding it low. She stoops to signal to the male that she is ready to mate.

The Number Of Eggs

An Ostriches Egg

During breeding, Emus generally lay between 20 to 30 eggs nature, while Ostriches lay between 10 to 20 eggs per breeding season.

The weight And Color Of The Egg

an Emu’s Egg

An ostrich lays the giant white egg in the world, weighing up to 3 pounds. On the other hand, an Emu lays a greenish blue egg that weighs between 1 to 1.5 pounds.

Incubation Period

The incubation period for Emu chicks is 54 days, while that of Ostriches is 42 days. An Emu becomes sexually mature after achieving between 3 to 4 years of age, while ostriches become sexually mature between 2 to 3 years of age.

The male emu is in charge of incubating the eggs and taking care of the chicks. On the other hand, the ostriches have shared responsibilities between the male and the most dominant female.

The female Ostrich is in charge during the day since its feathers adapt to the environment during the daytime. On the other hand, the male is on duty at night, using its black feathers as effective camouflage.


Another distinct difference between an emu and an ostrich is that the Emu grows up to 1.8 m long while the male Ostrich grows up to 2.8 m long.


An Ostrich’s powerful long legs can cover between 3 to 5 meters in a single stride, while an Emu can cover between 1.5 and 2.5 meters within a single stride.


Another difference between Emu and Ostrich is their weight. Emu can grow to a total weight of 40 kg, while a fully-grown ostrich weighs up to 120 kg.


Another interesting difference between Emu and Ostrich is that emus carry their head below their body, while ostriches walk with their head above their height.

Color Of Plumage

An adult Ostrich

The male and female Emu have brown plumage, while for the Ostriches, the male Ostrich has black plumage with white feathers on the wings and tail. The female Ostrich has gray-brown plumage.

In addition, the Emu has deep brown feathers with shaggy gray or brown plumage and bare blue skin on the head and neck, while the male Ostrich has black feathers and the female Ostrich has brown feathers.

Number Of Toes

One easily distinguished difference between an Emu and an Ostrich is that the Emu has three toes on a single leg while the Ostrich has two toes on each leg.

Running Speed

Even though these large birds cannot fly, they can run quite fast. The average speed at which an emu can run on the ground is 30 miles per hour, while an ostrich is known to reach maximum speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.


An aggressive ostrich

Emus are more docile and friendly, although they attack other farm animals, compared to Ostriches, who are more aggressive and wild.


Ostriches are adapted to the deserts and savannas of Africa, where they live and survive without a regular water supply (as long as two weeks). It is because the Ostriches can glean all the water they need from the food they eat, while the Emu, on the other hand, requires a fresh supply of water every day, often consuming as much as 10 liters daily.


The lifespan is another big difference between an emu and an ostrich. An adult male Emu can live up to 10 to 20 years, while an ostrich can live up to 40 to 50 years.


Emus are reared less frequently. They are bred mainly to produce oil and for their meat and leather. The Emu skin is less famous for leather because it is thinner, and has a low quality, pinhole appearance.

A full-grown Emu produces between 20 – 30 lb. of meat. With more fat deposits, Emus produces 5 to 7 liters of oil that are popular for medicinal and cosmetic applications. The oil is effective in reducing inflammation and healing wounds and muscle aches.

People breed ostriches for their feathers, used to make decorative items and dusters. The Ostriches skin is another valuable leather product used for making bags and shoes.

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