Facts about Southern cassowary

20 Southern cassowary facts

Casuarius casuarius

They are very large flightless birds living in Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia. As a ratite, it is related to emu, ostriches, rheas and kiwis.
Southern cassowary
Southern cassowary is most common of three cassowary species alive.

It is also the largest and heaviest one.

Scientific name of southern cassowary is Casuarius casuarius. The name Casuarius is derived from the Malay language. The term "kasu" means horned, and "weri" means head.

Cassowaries are the closest living relatives of dinosaurs.

They appeared on Earth about 60 million years ago, 6 million years after the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.

These birds share some dinosaur features: three clawed feet, strong legs, and casqued heads. In addition, DNA studies suggest that cassowaries and emus are the closest relatives of the ratites that lived on the continent of Gondwana.

Southern cassowaries live in northeastern Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia.
Tropical rainforests are their primary habitat, but they can also be found in wetlands or savanna. It is estimated that from 20,000 to 50,000 birds live in the wild.
It is the heaviest bird in Australia and the third heaviest in the world.
Heavier than it are only the Common ostrich and the Somali ostrich.
Adult cassowaries have a black body with a blue head, a reddish cape, and two red wattles hanging down around the throat. The head is protected by a large casque made of bone tissue.
The neck color can vary in different individuals due to the habitat in which they live.
Juvenile cassowaries do not have a helmet.
Bird's casque starts to develop after the first year of life.
Females are more brightly colored than males.
In juvenile specimens, the body color is more brownish.
They are one of the biggest living birds.
Adults are about 1,7 m (5.6 ft) tall and weigh between 55 and 76kg (121 to 167 lb). Their beak can be very long, ranging from 9.8 to 19 cm (3,9 to 7,5 in). Females are larger than males.
They are frugivores.
Their diet consists of many tropical forest fruits. Over 238 species of plants have been recorded on the Southern Cassowary diet. They are considered plant seeders as fruit seeds cannot be digested by the short digestive tract. Seeds in the cassowaries' droppings germinate more quickly, probably due to fertilization with excreta.
Southern cassowaries are solitary animals.
They spend only a few weeks in pairs during the mating season, which begins in June and ends in October.
Females lay three to five green eggs in a single clutch.
Nests are provisory constructions made mostly of leaves. Eggs are 16 x 10 cm (6,3 x 4,1 in) in size and weigh about 580 g (20 oz). After laying the eggs, the female leaves the nest and is ready to find a new mate.
The Male takes care of the young.
He is responsible for hatching the eggs and caring for the hatchlings. Hatching usually takes up to 60 days. Juveniles stay with their father for nearly ten months. During this time, he teaches them how to live independently, obtain food and defend themselves.
They are speedy runners.
Adult cassowaries can run up to 50 km (31 mi) per hour.
Cassowaries are crepuscular animals.
This means that they are most active during dusk and dawn. They spend the day basking in the sun.
Their toe-claw is long and dangerous.
The three-toed feet are thick and strong, equipped with a deadly dagger-like claw up to 12 cm (4.7 in) long on the inner toe. In danger, cassowary can deliver powerful and deadly kicks with the claw. Out of the fight, the claw is used to dig in the ground to find food.
Cassowaries are closely related to Kiwi birds.
They share a common ancestor that lived about 40 million years ago.
Well suited to avoid danger.
Those birds are excellent swimmers and can jump up to 2 m (7 ft) high to avoid a predator.
They live up to 30 years in the wild.
They reach maturity in 2,5 to 3 years. In captivity, cassowary can live up to 50 years.
They make weird and low sounds.
The booming sound emitted by a cassowary is the lowest known call of any bird and lies just at human hearing limit.
Cassowaries are not an endangered species, the IUCN lists them as LC (least concern).
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