The New Holland bird has the head and upper part of the neck thinly covered with slender black feathers; the space around the ears alone being left bare, and exhibiting, as well as the neck and throat, which are but partially concealed by the scattered plumage with which they are provided, the blue tinge of the skin. The general colour of the plumage is grayish brown above, with a more plentiful intermixture of the gray and a consequent lighter tinge beneath. The young are striped longitudinally with brown and gray. Their bill is black, and their legs are remarkably thick and of a dull brown. The great length of the latter and of the neck, and the erect attitude and quiet demeanour of these birds, which sometimes attain as much as seven feet in height, give them altogether a noble and imposing appearance. They were formerly common in the neighbourhood of Botany Bay, subsisting, like the rest of their tribe, upon vegetable substances, chiefly fruits. They are extremely wild, and run with great swiftness when pursued, outstripping it is said the fleetness of the greyhound. Like the Kanguroos, they are sometimes hunted by the colonists as articles of food; and their flesh is stated to have much of the flavour of beef. The quantity of provision supplied by one of these birds is by no means inconsiderable.
Author: Edward Turner Bennett