Australian Cassowary Bird

Australian cassowary bird is a big, black flightless bird.

It is only found in the tropical rainforests of north Queensland (and our northern neighbour Papua New Guinea).

A relative to emu, it belongs to the group of flightless birds called ratites, which evolved on the Gondwana continent and are not found in the Northern Hemisphere.

 Southern Cassowary (Casuarius Casuarius) Standing in Dense Vegetation, Queensland
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

Found in Wet Tropics
The Casuarius sp. is a stocky 1.5m-tall bird with black hairlike plumage and large feet with three toes, a long blue neck, red wattles, and a large horn on the top of its head. Whether the horn works as protection, signal of dominance or shovel for foraging, is not fully known but it does look quite impressive.

Southern Cassowary (Casuarius Casuarius), Daintree National Park, Queensland, Australia
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

It is usually solitary and it has a large home range in which it feeds on fallen fruit, fungi, snails, frogs, fish, eggs, rodents and even carrion. It swallows the seeds whole and it is the most important disperser of seeds of many species of rainforest trees. It is silent as it walks through the vegetation and easy to miss when walking past, but it will hiss if threatened and it has got a 10-cm spike on the inside toe of each foot so don’t scare it.

Southern Cassowary (Casuarius Casuarius), Queensland, Australia
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

Breeding Season and Babies
It breeds during the dry season between April and August. Female lays 3-4 eggs on the rainforest ground, and as in all ratites, takes off leaving the male that incubates the eggs and looks after the young for nine months after hatching.

Warning Road Sign for Cassowaries Near Mission Beach, Northeast Coast of Queensland, Australia
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

Cassowary Mission Beach
Cassowary bird is not easy to see in the dense rainforest. Most often it is seen crossing the roads, or walking along roadsides where people have been feeding it. Feeding cassowaries does not only make them agressive and attract them to the roads where they risk getting run over, but is now also illegal (means you get a big fine). The best places to see it are in Mission Beach, Daintree National Park and Atherton Tablelands in north Queensland, but you need a bit of luck to see it in the wild. If you don't, you can see it in most of Australian zoo parks and animal sanctuaries such as Melbourne Zoo in Melbourne, Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast, Billabong Sanctuary south of Townsville and Cairns Tropical Zoo and Kuranda Wildlife Noctarium north of Cairns.

You Are Secure!

Bookmark and Share

[?] Subscribe To This Site

follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines