Difference Between Emus and Ostriches
By Claire Miles - February 2, 2022

Emus and ostriches are both flightless birds from the family ratite. While they do look pretty similar, making it understandable that they are often mistaken for each other, these two large birds are actually pretty different. Their sizes, colors, habitat and even eggs are easy ways to tell them apart.

Table Summary

Up to 7ft tall and 150 lbsUp to 9 ft tall and 320 lbs
Native to AustraliaNative to Africa
Mostly herbivore dietOmnivore diet
Wild Emu looking at the camera

Getty Images / DigitalVision / David Trood


Native to Australia, emus are slightly smaller than ostriches. They can reach up to 7 ft in height and weigh up to 150 lbs. With small, discreet wings, emus can’t fly but can run up to 30 miles per hour. Their diet is mostly herbivore, meaning they eat seeds, fruits and flowers, but will occasionally eat insects too. These birds’ eggs are also pretty interesting: they are dark green and weigh around 1.4 lbs.

Ostriches are much larger than emus, reaching up to 9 ft in height and 320 lbs. They are native to the African continent and have large wings – with a maximum wingspan of more than 6 ft. They can run up to 45 miles per hour and eat not only plants, but also insects and small reptiles. Their eggs, unlike emus’ eggs, are cream-colored and weigh 3 lbs.

Emus VS Ostriches

Although emus and ostriches are both large flightless birds, they are actually very different. Emus are smaller and native to Australia, while ostriches are larger and native to the African continent. Emus are also slightly slower than ostriches and their wings are also shorter. When it comes to their eggs, emu eggs are green and weigh about 1.4 lbs, while ostrich eggs are cream-colored and weigh around 3 lbs.