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The emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is the largest bird native to Australia and the only extant member of the genus Dromaius. It is the second-largest extant bird in the world by height, after its ratite relative, the ostrich. There are three subspecies of emus in Australia. 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 2 metres (6.6 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 (31 mph). Their long legs allow them to take strides of up to 275 centimetres (9.02 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 for weeks without food. Emus ingest stones, glass shards and bits of metal to grind food in the digestive system. They drink infrequently, but take in copious fluids when the opportunity arises. Emus will sit in water and are also able to swim. They are curious birds 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.The Tasmanian Emu and King Island Emu subspecies that previously inhabited Tasmania and King Island became extinct after the European settlement of Australia in 1788; and the distribution of the mainland subspecies has been influenced by human activities. Once common on the east coast, emus are now uncommon; by contrast, the development of agriculture and the provision of water for stock in the interior of the continent have increased the range of the emu in arid regions, and it is of Least Concern for conservation. They were a food and fuel source for indigenous Australians and early European settlers. Emus are farmed for their meat, oil, and leather. Emu is a lean meat and while it is often claimed by marketers that the oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects, this has not been scientifically verified in humans. The emu is an important cultural icon of Australia. It appears on the coat of arms, various coins, features prominently in Indigenous Australian mythology, and hundreds of places are named after the bird.The emu has a prominent place in Australian Aboriginal mythology, including a creation myth of the Yuwaalaraay and other groups in NSW who say that the sun was made by throwing an emu's egg into the sky; the bird features in numerous aetiological stories told across a number of Aboriginal groups. One story from Western Australia holds that a man once annoyed a small bird, who responded by throwing a boomerang, severing the arms of the man and transforming him into a flightless emu. The Kurdaitcha man of Central Australia is said to wear sandals made of emu feathers to mask his footprints. Many Aboriginal language groups throughout Australia have a tradition that the dark dust lanes in the Milky Way represent a giant emu in the sky. Several of the Sydney rock engravings depict emus. The animals are also depicted in indigenous dances.
Coat of Arms Australia
The emu is popularly but unofficially considered as a faunal emblem — the national bird of Australia. It appears as a shield bearer on the Coat of arms of Australia with the red kangaroo, and as a part of the Arms also appears on the Australian 50 cent coin. It has featured on numerous Australian postage stamps, including a pre-federation New South Wales 100th Anniversary issue from 1888, which featured a 2 pence blue emu stamp, a 36 cent stamp released in 1986, and a $1.35 stamp released in 1994.The hats of the Australian Light Horse are decorated with an emu feather plume.
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Thanks for viewing.2013©Sonali T. Gangane
February 26th, 2013
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