Double-wattled Cassowary
Casuarius casuarius

CLASS: Aves
ORDER: Casuariformes
FAMILY: Casuaridae

SIZE:
Australia's second largest bird; 5.8 feet tall

RANGE:
Australia (Cape York Peninsula), New Guinea, Aru Island

HABITAT:
Dense rainforest, especially near streams, edges and clearings in rainforest

DIET:
Wild - Fallen fruits, palm seeds, vegetation, occasionally dead bird, dead small animals, fungi, snails

Zoo - Fruit, monkey biscuits, dog food, vegetables

DESCRIPTION:
Black with a horny helmet, bare skin of head pale blue, neck darker blue and purple with crimson wattles. Sexes look alike. Females larger and wattles and skin of neck brighter.

FACTS:

  • Swims well
  • Solitary animal except during breeding
  • The casque on head is used for protection and is thought to be used to push through the thick jungle. Also have been seen using it to dig in soil while looking for food.
  • Legs stout and powerful; innermost of three toes with long sharp claw, used in defense. (Claws are dangerous)
  • Flightless; flight feathers reduced to coarse spines used to protect the bird's flanks as it moves through the foliage.
  • Calls most commonly heard is a deep "chug, chug." During courtship the male approaches female giving a low "boo-boo-boo," circling her and casing his throat to swell and tremble.

YOUNG:

  • 4-8 large pale green eggs are laid on the forest floor. Male incubates them for about 50 days.
  • He accompanies chicks for about 1 year before returning to solitary life.

LIFESPAN:
At least 10 years in captivity

STATUS:
Vulnerable