Animals / Types of Birds / Flightless Birds - Ratites, Running to Survive / Cassowary - Tall, Dark and Dangerous Bird

Cassowary - Tall, Dark and Dangerous Bird

big bird


The Cassowary is native to New Guinea and northeastern Australia. It is a large, flightless bird and is the third largest bird, after the ostrich and emu. There are three species of Cassowary: the Southern Cassowary, found in northeastern Australia, New Guinea and the Aru Islands; the Dwarf Cassowary, found in Yapen, New Britain and New Guinea; and the Northern Cassowary, found in New Guinea lowlands and in Yapen.

They are black, with blue colored heads and all three species have a soft, spongy crest shaped like a horn. These “casques” play a role in communication (by reverberating sound) and during foraging and running through dense vegetation.



screech horn


Tall, Dark and Dangerous

The Cassowary is a tall bird, averaging around five to six feet (2 m) tall. Some are as tall as an adult human. Females are bigger than males and are more brightly colored. Cassowaries do not have tail feathers, nor do they have a preening gland. Their feathers consist of a shaft with loose barbules.

Cassowaries are solitary birds and they prefer to avoid confrontation, especially with humans. Despite their shyness, they have been known to cause great injury to people and dogs, when threatened or attacked. The typical territory of a Cassowary male is 1,700 acres, in which females have overlapping territories.


cassowary attach


During World War 2, Australian soldiers stationed in New Guinea were warned about the threat of attack from Cassowaries. Their toes are designed to be weapons, as well as aiding them in traversing rough terrain. The second toe is incredibly sharp, and is used in a kicking attack to disembowel predators or opponents.


Adept at Jungle Survival

The sheer power and size of the Cassowary, make it highly adept for living in the jungle, rain forests and swamplands that it is found in. It has a wedge-shaped body, which allows it run through clusters of vines and branches, without getting tangled up.

The bird is able to jump up to 5 ft (1.5 m) in the air, so it can clear large obstacles while running away from threat, and this also makes it a formidable fighter in any kind of confrontation. Their top speed through the rough terrain of the jungle, is 31 mph (50 kph), a speed that humans cannot match under those conditions, even when using vehicles.


adult chick


Cassowaries eat mainly fruit, but are also known to feed on insects, plants, invertebrates and small vertebrates. Typically, they will feed off fruit that has fallen on the ground, when fruit trees ripen. Each Cassowary will defend a tree that is dropping fruit, for days at a time. Once the fruit from a tree has been depleted, they move on to another tree,

Cassowaries tend to swallow their food whole, even when eating apples and bananas, much in the same way an ostrich does.




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