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King Island Emu Dromaius ater

This species was formerly found on King Island, Australia, but is now considered Extinct. It was last recorded in 1802, and had been exterminated through hunting by 1805.

Taxonomic source(s)
Brooks, T. 2000. Extinct species. In: BirdLife International (ed.), Threatened birds of the world, pp. 701-708. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona and Cambridge, U.K.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 1994. The taxonomy and species of birds of Australia and its territories. Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union, Melbourne.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.

Taxonomic note
Dromaius novaehollandiae (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into D. novaehollandiae, D. ater and D. baudinianus following Christidis and Boles (1994).

Distribution and population
Dromaius ater was endemic to King Island in the Bass Strait, Australia (Stattersfield et al. 1998). Numerous skeletal remains have been found, but only one skin exists, collected by Baudin in 1802, and now in Paris (Jouanin 1959). Its extinction must have followed shortly thereafter.

It was reported to prefer the shady margins of lagoons and the shoreline (Marchant and Higgins 1991).

Its extinction was presumably a result of being hunted by sealers for food (Marchant and Higgins 1991).

Jouanin, C. 1959. Les emeus de l'Expedition Baudin. L'Oiseau et la Revue Française d'Ornithologie 29: 169-203.

Marchant, S.; Higgins, P. J. 1990. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds, 1: ratites to ducks. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Parker, S. A. 1984. The extinct Kangaroo Island Emu, a hitherto-unrecognized species. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 104: 19-22.

Stattersfield, A. J.; Crosby, M. J.; Long, A. J.; Wege, D. C. 1998. Endemic bird areas of the world: priorities for bird conservation. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Text account compilers
Brooks, T., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Dromaius ater. Downloaded from on 11/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 11/07/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Extinct
Family Dromaiidae (Emus)
Species name author (Vieillot, 1817)
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species