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Australian Wildlife

  Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius)





Cassowary | Casuarius casuarius photo
The Cassowary has a horny helmet on top of its head that helps it push through the undergrowth. The blue bare skin and red wattles add some colour round the head.

Image by ozwildlife - Some rights reserved.

Cassowary | Casuarius casuarius photo
The helmet grows with age. The helmet is fairly tall on this bird.

Image by ozwildlife - Some rights reserved.

Cassowary | Casuarius casuarius photo
Photographed at Currumbin Sanctuary, Gold Coast, Australia

Image by ozwildlife - Some rights reserved.

Cassowary | Casuarius casuarius photo
Photographed at Currumbin Sanctuary, Gold Coast, Australia

Image by ozwildlife - Some rights reserved.



CASSOWARY FACTS

Description
The Cassowary is a large flightless rainforest bird about the size of an Emu. It has brilliant blue and purple head and neck and red wattles. The body has black feathers. Cassowary feathers differ from other birds in that they have a quill that splits in two.

Other Names
Southern Cassowary. (The northern ones come from Papua New Guinea!)

Size
1.2 - 1.5m tall

Habitat
Thick rainforest

Food
Mainly fruit, berries, vegetation.

Breeding
3 - 5 large pale green eggs laid in nest made of leaves on rainforest floor. The males incubate the eggs and raise the chicks.

Range
Rainforests of far North Queensland

distribution map showing range of Casuarius casuarius in Australia

Map is from Atlas of Living Australia website at http://biocache.ala.org.au licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License


Notes
Cassowaries are important to the rainforest as they distribute the seeds of more than 70 species of trees whose fruit is too large for any other animal to eat

Conservation Status
The conservation status in the 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals is "vulnerable".

Classification
Class:Aves
Order:Struthioniiformes
Family:Casuariidae
Genus:Casuarius
Species:casuarius
Common Name:Cassowary