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Southern Cassowary

Learn all about this dinosaur-like bird that stands as tall as a person


  1. Cassowaries have a 12cm long razor sharp claw on each foot.

  2. Cassowaries cannot fly, but they are incredible jumpers and can launch themselves up to 1.5 metres off the ground!

  3. The cassowary's helmet-like casque is made of keratin, the same material that makes up our hair and fingernails.

  4. The Southern Cassowary is a frugivore, meaning it mainly eats fruits.

  5. Once the eggs are laid, it is the male’s sole responsibility to incubate the eggs, a process which takes around 50 days. Once the eggs hatch, males raise the chicks for an additional nine months.



The Cassowary is one of the most fascinating and unique birds in the world. There are three species of Cassowary; the Southern Cassowary, the Northern Cassowary and the Dwarf Cassowary. They are found in the rainforests of New Guinea and North Eastern Australia.

In this post we'll focus on the Southern Cassowary.

The cassowary is the second heaviest and third tallest living bird, after the ostrich and the emu. It can weigh up to 60 kg and stand up to 1.8 m tall.

The Cassowary has a distinctive feature on its head called a casque, which is a helmet-like structure made of keratin. The function of the casque is not fully understood, but it may help with thermoregulation, sound amplification, or signaling.

The cassowary has powerful legs and feet, with three toes on each foot. The inner toe has a long claw that can be used as a weapon.

The cassowary is a frugivore, meaning it mainly eats fruits. It plays an important role in seed dispersal, as it can swallow fruits whole and pass them undigested. Some plants depend on the cassowary for their survival and reproduction.

The cassowary is a solitary and territorial animal, except during the breeding season. The female lays three to eight eggs in a nest made of leaves and grasses. The male incubates the eggs and raises the chicks for up to nine months.

The Cassowary lives in the tropical rainforests of New Guinea and northeastern Australia. It prefers dense vegetation and moist habitats.

The cassowary has a striking appearance, with black plumage, blue neck, red wattles, and yellow eyes. It has no tail feathers, but has long quills on its back that resemble hair. It has a loud and deep call that sounds like a low rumble.

The Southern Cassowary population is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The majority of the population lives in New Guinea. The Australian population of Southern Cassowaries is about 4000 and is in decline. The main threats to its survival are habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation due to logging, agriculture, mining, and urbanization. Other threats include road accidents.

The cassowary is protected by law in both New Guinea and Australia. There are also conservation efforts to restore its habitat, reduce human-wildlife conflicts, raise awareness, and support research and monitoring.