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Southern Cassowary

Southern Cassowary

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Scientific Name:

Casuarius casuarius


Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea


Mainly frugivore. Fallen fruit, some fungi, invertebrates (insects), small vertebrates (fish, frogs, rodents), some carrion, also domestic fowl, occasionally eggs. It can eat up to 9kg per day


Habitat:  Rainforest, savanna forest, mangroves, fruit plantations.

Incubation: 47-61 days / 3-8 eggs

Social structure: Mainly solitary or in pairs.

Weight: male 34kg max, female 58kg max

Dimensions: 130-170cm

Lifespan: 20-40 under human care

Estimated population in the wild: 20,000 - 50,000

Threats: Habitat loss and fragmentation, hunting for food.

IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Did you know that:

  1. Females are polyandrous; usually breed with 2-3 males throughout the mating season, starting a new nest every time, which the male will incubate. The chicks stay with their father until they become independent at about 9 months.
  2. They have very small wings and are unable to fly. Instead they rely on their powerful legs for mobility and defense.
  3. When alarmed, they are capable of crashing through the forest at almost 50 km / hour, using the bony casques on the top of their head to push vegetation out of their way.
  4. They are very good swimmers and are also good jumpers.
  5. They communicate with each other by issuing very loud deep roars of about 23 Hertz (very bottom end of what humans can hear). Cassowaries are the only birds recorded making vocalizations this low. These calls are territorial, warning other cassowaries of their territory.
  6. In 2004 southern cassowaries were voted by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's most dangerous bird as they can be very aggressive towards people.

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