Kevin,
our Southern Cassowary

DESCRIPTION

The southern cassowary has a stiff, bristly black plumage, a blue face and neck, red on the nape and two red wattles measuring around 17.8 cm (7.0 in) in length hanging down around its throat.

A horn-like brown casque, measuring 13 to 16.9 cm (5.1 to 6.7 in) high, sits atop the head.

The bill can range from 9.8 to 19 cm (3.9 to 7.5 in).

The three-toed feet are thick and powerful, equipped with a lethal dagger-like claw up to 12 cm (4.7 in) on the inner toe.Normally this species ranges from 127–170 cm (50–67 in) in length.

HABITAT

Cassowaries are native to the humid rainforests of New Guinea and nearby smaller islands, and northeastern Australia.

They will, however, venture out into palm scrub, grassland, savanna, and swamp forest.

It is unclear if some islands’ populations are natural or the result of trade in young birds by natives.

The Southern Cassowary is distributed in tropical rainforests of Indonesia, New Guinea and northeastern Australia, and it prefers elevations below 1,100 m (3,600 ft) in Australia, and 500 m (1,600 ft) on New Guinea.

DIET

Cassowaries are predominantly frugivorous. Besides fruits, their diet includes flowers, fungi, snails, insects, frogs, birds, fish, rats, mice, and carrion.

The cassowary plum takes its name from the bird.Where trees are dropping fruit, cassowaries will come in and feed, with each bird defending a tree from others for a few days.

They move on when the fruit is depleted. Fruit is swallowed whole, even items as large as bananas and apple.

WHERE DO THEY LIVE?

CONSERVATION STATUS

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