Where to see them:
- Cassowaries are important for seed dispersal through the forest.
- The function of the casque (projecting cap) on the head is not completely understood. It may take some of the impact when the bird is moving through forest thickets quickly.
- Female cassowaries are the second-heaviest birds in the world.
Height is 4 to 6 feet; males weigh 80 to 100 pounds, and females weigh 130 to 150 pounds.
Northern Australia, New Guinea
Cassowaries are solitary. Birds may congregate in areas when there is a plentiful food supply but will not forage near each other. Males and females will tolerate each other during breeding season, which lasts a few weeks. Nests are made on the ground with sticks, leaves etc. Females lay between three and eight eggs and then have no further involvement in incubation of eggs or rearing of chicks.
Cassowaries feed mainly fruit, vegetation, flowers and the occasional small mammal or reptile.
Cassowary chicks are reared solely by the male. Females will kill chicks if given the opportunity. Chicks stay with the male for approximately nine months but do not become fully mature for another few years. Cassowaries can live well into their 30s in captivity.
Some of My Neighbors (IN THE WILD)
Blue-crowned pigeon, echidna, possum species
Population Status & Threats
Adult cassowaries do not have any predators except man and dogs. Due to habitat loss, motor vehicle strikes have become the main killer of adult cassowaries. Chicks may be preyed upon by feral dogs and other carnivores.