Ngurrurdu (Emu)

Ngurrurdu or emus are large, flightless birds found throughout Australia, including western Arnhem Land where the artist lives. The male ngurrurdu guard the nest while females cease contact with the young once the eggs are laid. Males incubate the eggs and raise the fledglings until the chicks are independent. The exaggerated chest is called a crop and birds use the crop for storing and digesting food. To compensate for their lack of flight, ngurrurdu are extremely fast runners. Kurrung is the time for hunting ngurrurddu emus and collecting wirlarrk, emu eggs. Kurrung is the late dry season when humidity begins to build, usually October – November. The emu is painted in the classic Kunwinjku “x-ray” style which is a hallmark of Oenpelli paintings in the rock art tradition.