One of the most common mix-ups that are frequently happening for the humans in the animal kingdom is identifying which one is ostrich and which one is the emu. Because they are the two largest-ever birds right now in the earth, and they look the same for most people. But to an experienced eye or someone who knows the differences between the two, they are quite different. So if you too get mixed up all the time, here is the difference between emu and ostrich to let you easily identify which one is which.
Female ostrich feathers are lighter, and male ostrich feathers are very dark, almost black, and they have white wings. So if you see a bird with a white head and light feathers, it’s probably a female ostrich. If you see a white head and dark feathers, it is perhaps a male ostrich. Emus, in general, have light gray feathers. With emus, it’s very hard to tell which is female and which is male. But in the mating season, females will have their heads turn a bluish color.
Ostriches are the biggest bird in the world, and they can be four to nine feet tall. Emu’s are the second largest bird in the world. They are only second to the ostrich, and they can be five to six feet tall. So one big difference between emu and ostrich is their size and ostrich are certainly the biggest out there while emu does not fall behind that much.
When it comes to the lifespan, ostrich is certainly way ahead of the emus. The lifespan of emus is considerably less than ostriches. Where ostriches tend to live between 40 to 45 years on average, emu’s got a limited lifespan of 10 to 20 years. But their lifespan will increase greatly when they’re in zoos because there are fewer dangers.
One thing you may find strange and unique about the emu is that they have three toes. What about the ostriches then? Well, ostriches come with only two toes like any regular birds. So you can look properly you will differentiate them by their toes for sure.
One key factor that you should know is the difference in the construction of their heads. Emus have a very dark-colored head and ostriches have almost white looking heads. So that’s one easy way to tell which is which one.
Ostrich can weigh a lot more than emus – 120 kg to even 160 kg. When compared with the weight of a regular emu, that’s more than even double. Because emus doesn’t weigh anywhere near this weight and they tend to be around 40 kg to 50 kg weight class.
One way you can tell which is an emu and which is an ostrich is the way zoos group them according to their geography. Because most of the time, zoos will group animals by where they come from. So emos will be with other Australian animals like kangaroos, koalas and things like that. The ostriches will probably be by other African animals like elephants and zebras.
Emus can easily run at 50 Km/h per hour on their sprinting. If you think that is fast, then you will be surprised to find that ostriches are even faster. Despite being so big in both height and weight, ostriches can run at a speed of 70 km/h. It can be pretty fascinating and scary at the same time to see such a weird-looking bird running so fast. But this difference of speed is one of the most critical differences between these two biggest birds in the world.