Cassowary (Southern)

Casuarius casuarius

IUCN Red List status: Least Concern

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Least Concern


Where they live

Northern Australia, New Guinea and surrounding islands


Tropical forests and wetlands


5.8 ft tall


Females weigh up to 76kg; males weigh up to 55kg


Up to 30 years in the wild


Habitat loss, human interaction, dog attacks, being hit by vehicles

Did you know...

  • The Southern Cassowary is the second largest species of bird, only beaten in height by ostriches. They can eat many fruits and fungi that would be poisonous to humans as their digestive system is adapted to this Males are responsible for raising chicks, females abandon the eggs after she lays them

More about cassowaries...

Southern Cassowary are found in tropical forests and wetlands across Northern Australia, New Guinea and the surrounding islands. They feed mostly on fruit that has fallen to the ground, but will also eat anything from snails to dead mammals. Many plant species rely on the Southern Cassowary for seed dispersal as they swallow fruit whole, digest the pulp and pass the seed unharmed in their dung.

They have muscular legs and powerful feet that have given them the reputation of being one of the most dangerous birds in the world. They can kick out when threatened and use their dagger-like claws which can be 5 inched long.

Southern Cassowaries are a solitary species for most of the year, apart from breeding season (May-November) when a pair will stay together until the female lays eggs. A female with lay between 3-5 eggs and will then leave, at which point the male takes over. Males will incubate the eggs for at least 50 days and then spend the next nine months raising and defending the chicks.

How you can help...

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