University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Members of a flock of male and female emus were observed in an ethological experiment designed to investigate trends in reproductive behavior exhibited during the North American mating season, which lasts from October to mid-March. Observations were made at dawn, noon, and dusk from December 1999 to mid-March 2000, and the only behaviors that were consistently expressed during these times were pecking, strutting, exclusive, and male and female sexual activities (defined in text). Though statistical significance was found between male strutting behavior and female sexual activity in the December observation period, no overall significance or significance at other observation periods was found between these two behaviors. No statistical significance was found between male pecking and female sexual behavior—overall or at separate observation periods. The emus also showed more incidences of mating activity at dawn and under cool temperature conditions. Exclusive behavior, however, was more prominent during the dusk observation period.