The emu vs ostrich are two of the world’s largest flightless birds. The emu is native to Australia and the second-largest living bird, while the ostrich is native to Africa and is the tallest and heaviest. Both of these giant birds live in dry, semi-desert habitats and are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day. They both have long legs and can run at impressive speeds. They can cover a lot of ground with just one stride, allowing them to quickly outrun any predator. Both of these birds are also able to defend themselves with nasty, dangerous kicks.
While they share some similarities, the emu and ostrich are not closely related. Their closest evolutionary kin is the cassowary, a bird that is larger and even more powerful than an ostrich. Ostriches and emus belong to an infraclass of birds called paleognaths, but they have very different body plans and a more primitive palate (mouth roof) than other birds.
Legends of Flightlessness: Comparing the Emu and Ostrich
Although both ostriches and emus can run at tremendous speeds, their feet are very differently designed. Ostriches have two toes on each foot, whereas most birds have three.
Another difference between the ostrich and emu is that ostriches have a much deeper breast than emus. This is because ostriches are more scavenging and feed on waste material, such as dead animals and vegetable matter. The emu has more of a prey-like appearance since it is primarily a hunting bird that stalks small mammals and reptiles. The ostrich, on the other hand, is more like an apex predator and relies on speed and agility to catch its prey.