The cassowary belongs to the ratites, a group of large, flightless birds. There are three species of cassowaries found in New Guinea and northeastern Australia. Cassowaries can be found in wet tropical rainforests, dense lowland and highland forests. This bird is rarely seen in the wild because it lives in deep forests. The main threat to the cassowary’s survival is deforestation, as well as the introduction of new species such as dogs, foxes, and cats (which eat cassowary eggs). Cassowaries are classified as vulnerable species, which means they are at risk of becoming extinct in the near future.
Interesting facts about Cassowary:
The cassowary is a massive bird. It is slightly smaller than emu and ostrich. Cassowaries grow to be between 59 and 79 inches tall and weigh between 55 and 129 pounds. Females are larger than males.
Cassowaries resemble a strange cross between ostriches and turkeys. It has a large body covered in black feathers, bluish skin on the head, and a reddish neck. Upper legs are blue, while lower legs are grey.
The color of the cassowary’s head and neck can change depending on his mood.
Cassowaries have a helmet-like crest (casque) on their heads. It is usually 6 inches long and 6.7 inches tall.
Casque is a self-defense weapon. It protects the skull during fights and allows for easier movement through dense vegetation.
Cassowaries are omnivores (eats both plants and animals). It typically consumes a variety of fruits, seeds, shoots, fungi, small invertebrates, and insects.
Cassowaries have excellent vision and hearing. They are sensitive to low-pitched sounds.
Cassowary produces sound that can be heard from 3 miles away.
Cassowaries are unable to fly due to a lack of a chest bone that supports the muscles used for flight. Despite their inability to fly, they are extremely fast runners. Cassowaries can run at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour and jump up to 5 feet in the air.
Cassowaries are also excellent swimmers with the ability to swim for long distances.
Cassowaries are extremely important ecologically. Cassowaries act as forest gardeners by releasing various undigested seeds during defecation.
From June to October is mating season. Males construct nests in which females lay between 3 and 8 eggs. The color of the eggs is greenish-blue. The female can lay her eggs in a variety of nests.
Females are not in charge of egg or young bird survival. Males are in charge of egg incubation, which lasts 50 days. In addition, males care for the chicks until they reach the age of one year.
Young cassowaries are brown with striped skin. Their guardian will teach them how to find food and catch insects, worms, snails, and frogs.
Cassowaries can live for 12 to 19 years in the wild and 40 to 50 years in captivity.