Cassowaries are a large flightless bird.
They can be found in the rain forests of Papua New Guinea and North Eastern Australia.
The Double-wattled Cassowary is the species people are usually most familiar with.
Cassowaries belong to group known as Ratites. This group is made up of ostriches, emus, and rheas all of which are large flightless birds.
The cassowary is most closely related to the emu.
The cassowary is the 2nd heaviest bird in the world. The ostrich is the heaviest bird.
The cassowary is the 3rd tallest bird in the world.
Cassowary feathers aren't designed for flight, but they help protect them from the elements and sharp thorns in the rain forest.
Cassowaries can jump almost 7 ft straight up!
Cassowaries mainly eat fruit. They also eat grasses, seeds, leaves and bugs.
In the past cassowaries had no predators in their natural environment. Humans have brought not only deforestation to their habitats, but also cats and dogs, which eat their eggs and destroy their nests.
Cassowaries lay up to 8 eggs at a time. The males incubate the eggs and care for the chicks when they hatch.
Cassowaries make a loud booming sound. It is the lowest known call of any bird and is right at edge the of our hearing. It can be heard from up to 3 miles away.
All 3 species of cassowary have a helmet, or casque on the top of their head. The casque starts to form at age 2. It is made of a sponge like material that is covered with a thick layer of keratin (the substance that makes up your fingernails).
No one knows exactly what the purpose of the casque is. It constantly grows, so it might be a way to show age or dominance. It might be because it helps them get through the rain forest vegetation. It may help them communicate, much like the hornbill’s casque does. It also might be for defense.
Cassowaries are often called the most dangerous birds in the world. They have a dagger like claw on their inner toe. With a quick kick, they can slice open a predator.
Cassowary wattles can be blue, red, gold, purple or white depending on the subspecies. The dwarf cassowary is the only species that doesn't have a wattle.
Cassowaries are very important to the rain forests for dispersing seeds through their droppings.
What do you think of cassowaries?