Ollie the Emu turns 40
17 March 2023
by Visit Blackpool
One of the world’s oldest emus will celebrate his 40th birthday at Blackpool Zoo on Monday 20th March.
Ollie hatched at Harewood Bird Gardens in Leeds in 1983 before moving to Blackpool when he was one year old.
He lives happily with the kangaroos as well as his partner Maggie and has fathered many chicks throughout his life.
Males incubate the eggs for roughly 56 days and do not eat, drink or go to the toilet throughout that time. They then care for the young until they are between six and 12 months old.
The typical lifespan of an is 10 to 20 years in the wild and up to 35 in captivity, although a few older birds have been reported in the past.
Emus are the third largest bird species and Ollie stands at 5 foot 7 inches. His favourite foods are carrots and cabbage and he is partial to the odd apple as a treat.
Emma Swindells, who is a senior keeper on Blackpool Zoo’s bird section, said: “It is wonderful to be celebrating 40 years of Ollie!
“He’s a very gentle bird who keeps himself to himself, unlike his partner Maggie who loves to come over to keepers for a good scratch and to see what we are doing!
“This is a huge milestone birthday and Ollie is in great health. He’s one of the oldest emus in the world and will be getting lots of treats to mark the occasion!”
The oldest emu in the world was claimed to be 58 in 2020. He was kept on a family farm in Valencia Creek in the Australian state of Victoria.
Emus are flightless birds that can reach running speeds of up to 30mph. The species hails from Australia, where the first recorded sighting was in 1696.