Emu

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ambience: Emu vocalizations

One of the largest birds in the world doesn’t fly, but can run up to 50 miles an hour. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We’re listening to the sounds of an emu, a bird which resembles an ostrich and is found throughout Australia in heavily wooded areas.

“The sound is used for communication between different emus, whether it be threat or just announcing their presence. Emus are a semi social species. They often tend to spend time apart from other emus, so it’s just a communication between them at some distance because this noise will carry quite some, some way.”

Walter Boles is a collection manager of birds at the Australian Museum in Sydney, Australia.

“Emus have a somewhat unusual breeding system. They usually pair up, male with a female, and stay together for something like five to six months. Doing the courtship, eventually building the nest which is a large grass platform, one to two meters placed on the ground. Then the female will lay anywhere up to fifteen maybe twenty eggs depending on conditions at two to four day intervals. And through all this, she pretty well takes the initiative. The female is the often the larger, the more dominant sex during the courtship procedures. Once the eggs are laid though, the male sort of asserts himself and generally will move her on and he takes over sole care of the young. And he will sit on the nest without drinking, eating, or defecating for up to eight weeks. And so the eggs are pretty well protected because he’s sitting on the nest at that time.”

After they hatch, young emus remain under their father’s care until the age of six months, when they’re old enough to fend for themselves.

Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Emu

But does mom get visiting rights? Young emus (flightless Australian birds) remain in the exclusive care of their father for six months.
Air Date:11/28/2002
Scientist:
Transcript:

music
ambience: Emu vocalizations

One of the largest birds in the world doesn't fly, but can run up to 50 miles an hour. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We're listening to the sounds of an emu, a bird which resembles an ostrich and is found throughout Australia in heavily wooded areas.

"The sound is used for communication between different emus, whether it be threat or just announcing their presence. Emus are a semi social species. They often tend to spend time apart from other emus, so it's just a communication between them at some distance because this noise will carry quite some, some way."

Walter Boles is a collection manager of birds at the Australian Museum in Sydney, Australia.

"Emus have a somewhat unusual breeding system. They usually pair up, male with a female, and stay together for something like five to six months. Doing the courtship, eventually building the nest which is a large grass platform, one to two meters placed on the ground. Then the female will lay anywhere up to fifteen maybe twenty eggs depending on conditions at two to four day intervals. And through all this, she pretty well takes the initiative. The female is the often the larger, the more dominant sex during the courtship procedures. Once the eggs are laid though, the male sort of asserts himself and generally will move her on and he takes over sole care of the young. And he will sit on the nest without drinking, eating, or defecating for up to eight weeks. And so the eggs are pretty well protected because he's sitting on the nest at that time."

After they hatch, young emus remain under their father's care until the age of six months, when they're old enough to fend for themselves.

Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music