Cassowary Facts, How Dangerous Are Cassowaries, Really? (2023)

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Cassowary (Cassowary casuarius) is a flightless bird, that means it cannot fly despite having wings or feathers. They are large birds, and are closely related to emus. However, the emus are slightly more in length than cassowary. In Australia, cassowary is at the top of heaviest birds. Globally, they stand on the second number of the list of heaviest birds, after their cousins ostrich. Ostrich is the heaviest bird in the world.

Researchers studied the eggshells of living birds like ostriches, turkeys etc to derive their relationship. Cassowary runs at a speed of thirty one miles per hour. Cassowaries are easy to breed and grow to an adult size.

The body of these birds is covered with a very dense layer of black feathers, these feathers are two-quilled and if you look at them from a distance, their feathers will resemble their hair. Cassowary feathers are in no way made for flight. Instead, their plumage protects them from their habitat. That is why they are known as a “Flightless bird.”

The habitat of these birds is the rainforests, and tropical forests. So, this plumage protects them from the dangerous thorns present in the plants of rainforests, and also keeps them safe from being wet. Cassowaries are mainly from the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, East Nusa Tenggara, North eastern Australia, and Malaku islands. There are a total three species of cassowary birds present in the world.

Types of cassowaries

Cassowaries belong to the genus “Casuarius” and are retities, but unlike other ratites they only live in rainforests.that can be easily seen on guinea highlands or North guinea, and also on nearby islands. Cassowary is a flightless bird, and is also one of the heaviest birds after ostrich.

(Video) Why Cassowaries Are the Most Dangerous Bird on the Planet

There are three major types of cassowaries:

  • Dwarf Cassowary
  • Northern Cassowary
  • Southern Cassowary (Southern Cassowary Casuarius)

Dwarf Cassowary

As the name suggests, dwarf cassowaries are the smallest ones among the three species. It is also known as Bennett’s cassowary. These birds usually inhabit the mountainous regions of Yepen Island, Papua New Guinea, Northern Queensland, and New Britain. Though you may think that it is a small bird, it’s still a large and heavy bird, and they live in dense rainforest up to the heights of ten thousand eight hundred feet.

The dwarf cassowaries have an adult size, and weight ranging from seventeen to twenty-six kilograms. They have rigid black plumage, with a blue neck containing red patches, with a pink face. The headgear is not too big and is in a triangular shape. Similar to other cassowary species, they are also very dangerous and have dagger-like claws in their inner toe.

These birds feed on small insects, fruits fallen from the trees, and other small animals. The conservation status for these birds is “Endangered.” They are losing their places to live due to habitat destruction, and higher rates of illegal hunting.

Northern Cassowary

The northern cassowary is habitual to North guinea, Northern Queensland, and Northeastern Australia. It is a giant, heavily-weighted bird, unable to fly, and single wattled cassowary. Northern cassowaries do not live on too much height. They have a blue face, with black-stiff feathers, headgear/casque, and a wattle of red or yellow color.

Cassowaries are solitary birds, and they feed mainly on fruits and insects. Among northern cassowaries, females are polygamous while males have the responsibility for nurturing the young ones in rock shelters. Like other cassowaries, it is also a dangerous bird.

The potential threat to these cassowaries is hunting, habitat loss that is why their population is rapidly decreasing. The people hunt them for their casque and bones. On the other hand, their eggs and chicks are captured for food purposes.

Cassowary Facts, How Dangerous Are Cassowaries, Really? (1)

(Video) Cassowary Facts: the MOST DANGEROUS Bird (?) | Animal Fact Files

Southern Cassowary

Southern cassowaries are mainly present in Indonesia, Australia, Northern Queensland, and Papua New Guinea islands. These are large flightless birds that tend to live at lower elevations. This is the largest cassowary species among all three species. Southern cassowary is a double wattled cassowary with blue face, two wattles, and a hard black plumage.

They only mate in the breeding season, else they do not like to interact even with their own species. Southern cassowaries can kill small animals, dogs, domestic animals, and can hurt humans if they are enraged. That is why it is known as the world’s most dangerous bird. Their scientific name refers to “Southern Cassowary Casuarius.”

Cassowary’s headgear

cassowaries are jet balck in color but that’s the cassowary feathers. There are beautiful bright colors like blue and red on the face and neck of a cassowary. The female cassowaries are much larger than the male cassowaries, and they have more bright and vibrant colours than the males.

Cassowaries have a unique structure on their head that looks similar to a helmet. This helmet-like structure is called “Casque.” Each of the three species of cassowaries have a headgear or casque. This casque begin to develop on their heads from the age of two.

This casque consists of a sponge-like material and a thick layer of protein called “Keratin” encapsulates it. Though the casque looks very firm but it can be easily squeezed from the middle. There is no main reason why cassowaries have a casque. Maybe, it’s there to protect the bird’s head from the shocks of the trees while passing through the dense forest underbrush.

The casque also helps them like other species of birds in producing sounds. The southern cassowary and the dwarf cassowary produce very low frequency sounds like booms. These booms help them in communicating in the dense rainforest.

Female cassowaries have bigger casques than the males. Besides, booms cassowaries also produce whistles, and they rumble whenever they feel a threat. According to the biologists, the rumble they produce is so powerful but low that they can actually feel it within their bones.

Cassowary diet

As cassowary thrives in rainforests and wetlands, therefore their diet is much specific. Rainforests yields multiple types of fruit every year. Cassowaries are termed as “Frugivores,” because they only eat fallen fruit from the trees.

(Video) 5 curious facts about the cassowary, the most dangerous bird in the world ‐ Curious Head

The digestive tract of these birds is not so complex like humans, and that is why they defecate much sooner than other animals. This is one the reason that their droppings contain undigested fruit seeds. One amazing fact is that their droplets containing seeds are so big that any other animal is unable to swallow them.

According to one research, seeds from a very rare Australian rainforest tree, known as Ryparosa sp. grow much better when they are plates after passing through the cassowary’s digestive tract. Similarly, there are several fruit plants that need to be digested through a cassowary’s tract in order to sprout.

Cassowaries are loners

Cassowary is a large flightless bird and does not like to live in groups or communities. Instead, they tend to live alone in their selected boundaries. They are also aggressive. If one male cassowary comes in contact with the other one, they stretch themselves, fluff up their feathers, and roar at each other. They continue to do unless one of them takes a decision, and leaves.

Breeding in Cassowaries

Breeding season for the cassowaries begin when their is maximum fruit in the forests, and that is the time from June to October. As soon as the breeding season begins, formerly solitary females allow males to approach them, and become more tolerable with each other.

The male cassowary roams around the female in circles, and approaches her making low-pitched beams. If the female is impressed by the male, they mate. Both of them stay together for a couple of weeks to the point where the female becomes capable of laying and harvesting cassowary eggs.

Once the female lays three to five eggs, she is no more related to the male or the chicks. She leaves the male for incubation of the eggs. Afterwards, it is the responsibility of the male to take care of the eggs, and young birds. Female lays one to three eggs per clutch.

Like the Emu, female cassowaries may move to another bachelor cassowary to breed and produce a new clutch, and lay eggs. Dogs are one of the biggest threats to the young cassowaries.

According to the studies, the cassowary embryos have fully formed limbs, beaks, claws, and plumage. People living at two rock shelter sites are also found harvesting eggs, and collecting eggs of cassowaries because of their endangered situation.

(Video) This Cassowary Can Kill You

Early humans used to collect cassowary’s eggs in order to hatch them and then they used to raise them to adult size. Cassowary’s eggs look much similar to the ostrich eggs.

Incubation

The male sits and hatches the eggs for sixty days. The cassowary chicks hatched from eggs, have a rich tan color with stripes. The males feed their chicks and teach them the way to live in the world. During the incubation period the males cannot leave the nest unattended. The cassowary chicks live with their father for almost sixteen months. However, in some cases the male leaves the cassowary chicks so that they can live on their own. By that time cassowary chicks are almost adults and can live on their own.

Are cassowaries dangerous?

Cassowary is the world’s most dangerous bird. Their claws are extremely lethal and deadly. They have a three-toed claw which is similar to a dagger, and the inner toe is four inches long. Cassowaries have the ability to actually open up their predators with just a single swift kick.

They can slice up their predators with their dagger-like inner toe. Cassowaries have tremendously powerful legs that aid them to run at thirty-one miles per hour in the dense underbrush of the rainforests.

Cassowaries are also very good at climbing and jumping. They can jump straight into the air up to the height of seven feet. They also have swimming capabilities like no other bird. So, that is why they can easily escape from predators and threats.

People often spot them crossing roads while travelling through a rainforest. Do not try to feed cassowaries as they are extremely aggressive and territorial. Some indigenous people even use their feathers for ceremonial and ritual purposes.

Cassowary wattles:

Out of three cassowary species two of them bear wattles. Wattles are bare skin pouches that hang from the cassowary’s neck. Southern Cassowaries are called “Double wattled cassowary”, on the other hand, northern cassowaries are known as “Single wattled cassowary.” Wattles are beautiful and have bright colors like blue, red, green, and purple and white.

Cassowary Facts, How Dangerous Are Cassowaries, Really? (2)

(Video) 10 CRAZY Cassowary Facts You Didn’t Know

Questions and Answers

What is a cassowary?

Cassowaries are huge, flightless birds and are close relatives of emus. There are a total of three species of cassowaries present globally. All of the three species have dense black plumage. Only one of them is double wattled. The cassowaries have blue faces, and necks, and they are dangerous birds towards humans.

Where do cassowaries live?

Cassowaries generally live in dense rainforests, and tropical forests of North Guinea, Southeastern Australia, Melaluca. Their habitat includes swamps, forest woodlands in Mangrove, and can also be found on islands. The reason for this diverse habitat is their diet as they have to feed on juicy fleshy fruits.

What does a cassowary eat?

Cassowary is a complex species normally found in New guinea highlands. They munch upon the fruits, insects, and other small animals. They use their dagger-like claws present on the inner toe to dig the leaf litter for finding the fallen fruit.

FAQs

How often do cassowaries attack humans? ›

They attack up to 200 people every year

Swiftly karate-kicking whoever approaches them with their powerful legs, over 200 cassowary attacks are reported every year. Of these 200, 70% of attacks occur due to people trying to get up close to the cassowary, wanting to feed them, causing the cassowary to feel threatened.

How far can cassowaries jump? ›

Powerful legs help the cassowary run up to 31 miles per hour (50 kilometers per hour) through the dense forest underbrush. A cassowary can also jump nearly 7 feet (2 meters) straight up into the air and swim like a champ, so the bird is quite good at fending off threats or escaping danger!

What can cassowaries do to humans? ›

Although cassowaries should not be considered dangerous, they can cause serious injuries. Seven attacks against humans resulted in serious injuries (puncture wounds, lacerations, broken bone) and subsequently one death, caused by cassowaries kicking or jumping on victims.

Could I beat a cassowary in a fight? ›

If by human you mean your scrawny beta weakling 5'8ft 60kg average joe then he can try to fight but his chances are low. If you mean a skilled athletic experienced healthy alpha male with hunting skills and reaching heights of 5'11ft to 7ft tall and weighting more than 89kgs then the chances are pretty close.

Is the cassowary a dinosaur? ›

Cassowaries are not dinosaurs, but they are one of the closest living relatives.

How strong is a cassowary kick? ›

Cassowary kicks are powerful enough to break bones and kill. Cassowaries are heavy birds and can weigh up to 157 lbs. When they kick, the kick downwards, so the full force of their weight is behind their kick. Cassowary kicks are also dangerous because they have claws that can grow up to 5 in.

What is the toughest bird? ›

The colorful-faced cassowary is a large flightless bird that is a marvel to behold. They are the heaviest bird in Australia—and only second in the world to the ostrich.
...
1. Cassowary.
Scientific Name:Casuarius
Continent of Origin:Australia
Weight:121-167 pounds
Height:5.8 feet
20 Jul 2022

Do cassowaries eat meat? ›

Diet. Cassowaries prefer fallen fruit, but will eat small vertebrates, invertebrates, fungi, carrion and plants. Over 238 species of plants have been recorded in the southern cassowary diet.

Do birds sleep standing up? ›

Birds, depending on their species, may sleep standing up, lying down, floating on the water, and even upside down.

Are any birds poisonous? ›

Poisonous birds are rare (or little studied), and comprise Pitohui and Ifrita birds from Papua New Guinea, the European quail, the Spoor-winged goose, the Hoopees, the North American Ruffed grouse, the Bronzewings, and the Red warbler.

What is the deadliest bird of prey? ›

The African crowned eagle can hook its claws into prey and lurch right back into the sky. Bird fatalities are rare, and even the most dangerous of birds rarely cause injuries unless they're first provoked — but this deadliest bird on Earth known as the African crowned eagle could be the exception that proves the rule.

Can cassowary kick? ›

Cassowaries have three-toed feet with sharp claws. The second toe, the inner one in the medial position, sports a dagger-like claw that may be 125 mm (5 in) long. This claw is particularly fearsome, since cassowaries sometimes kick humans and other animals with their powerful legs.

What to do if you meet a cassowary? ›

If confronted, remain calm and back away slowly. Protect your front with a bag or backpack if possible, and shelter behind a tree. Do not run away as cassowaries can run faster than most people!

What was the first bird on planet Earth? ›

Archaeopteryx is the earliest undisputed bird. A weak flyer, it shared characteristics with its dinosaur ancestors. Fossils show that Archaeopteryx , like dinosaurs, had teeth, a long bony tail, and grasping claws on its wings, but also had a bird-style hip and feathers.

What bird is the closest to a dinosaur? ›

Based on genetics and on the fossil record, there's general agreement that the most primitive groups of birds today are several families of flightless ground-dwellers—ostriches, emus, cassowaries, rheas, kiwis—plus the tinamous, which can fly, but not very well.

Which bird is a living dinosaur? ›

Parrots, eagles, penguins, chickens … they're all dinosaurs. Birds are actually specialised coelurosaur theropods. Clearly, not all dinosaurs became extinct – over 10,000 species live among us today. One of the earliest known birds is the 150-million-year-old Archaeopteryx, but birds had evolved before then.

Can I pet a cassowary? ›

While all bird species are modern-day dinosaurs, cassowaries need a little less convincing. Despite their striking appearance and similarity to often domesticated species like emus and ostriches, we must face a powerful truth. Cassowaries do not make friendly pets.

Who would win ostrich vs cassowary? ›

So a battle to the death between the 2 biggest birds? The ostrich is bigger than the cassowary so that gives it one advantage. However, cassowaries are much more aggressive and have sharper beaks. The winning blow, though, is the cassowaries long and razor sharp nails.

Which bird is more powerful than Eagle? ›

…as the harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja), the most powerful bird of prey to be found in the world.

Which bird is the king of the sky? ›

The eagle is called the "King of Birds", but this title has also been given to the Philippine Eagle.

Is terror bird a dinosaur? ›

Built like stout ostriches with large, hatchet-shaped heads, the terror birds were among the major predators of their day; a lineage of distant dinosaur descendants that lost the ability to fly and became adapted to hunting on the ground.

What birds dive bomb humans? ›

Birds almost never actually make contact with the target they are divebombing. In the majority of cases, it is a bluff. Mockingbirds and swallows are the most common culprits in divebombing incidents as they are more territorial of their nests.

Do cassowaries eat snakes? ›

The Cassowary is primarily a omnivorous (or more correctly a frugivore). Its diet consists mainly of fruits that have fallen to the rainforest floor. But it also eats leaves, fungus, insects, snails, frogs, snakes, small animals, and carrion. A cassowary needs up to five kilograms of food a day.

Are cassowary eggs edible? ›

It can be eaten raw, but it's much better cooked. Cassowary eggs are a type of egg laid by female cassowaries. Only fertilized cassowary eggs are laid, so all cassowary eggs are displayed "Cassowary egg (fert.)". Fertilized eggs are edible to colonists and ovivorous animals.

Do people eat cassowary eggs? ›

Known as balut, the dish is usually made with duck eggs today. But Douglass and her team suggest that people in New Guinea may have been eating cassowary balut thousands of years ago.

› 10-facts-about-the-most-dange... ›

There are three species of cassowary, including the best-known Southern cassowary Casuarius casuarius that lives in the rainforests of far north Queensland. The...
It belongs to a group of large flightless birds known as ratites and is closely related to the emu. The cassowary is the world's most dangerous bird. It can...
These fearsome beasts look like a dinosaur-bird hybrid. Meet your friend, the cassowary. Just kidding, these megabirds aren't too friendly. The cassowary is...

What to do if a cassowary chases you? ›

If confronted, remain calm and back away slowly. Protect your front with a bag or backpack if possible, and shelter behind a tree. Do not run away as cassowaries can run faster than most people!

What do you do if you encounter a wild cassowary? ›

How to Survive the World's Deadliest Bird - YouTube

What are cassowaries predators? ›

Natural predators of cassowaries include crocodiles, pythons, dingos, and quolls. However, the effects of these animals are minimal when compared with threats introduced over the last two hundred years.

What is cassowary diet? ›

Cassowaries have been recorded eating over 238 species of plants, and they play an important role in maintaining the diversity of the rainforest. Cassowaries prefer fallen fruit to other food, but will also eat small vertebrates (such as snails and frogs, small birds and eggs), invertebrates, fungi, carrion and plants.

How strong is a cassowary kick? ›

Cassowary kicks are powerful enough to break bones and kill. Cassowaries are heavy birds and can weigh up to 157 lbs. When they kick, the kick downwards, so the full force of their weight is behind their kick. Cassowary kicks are also dangerous because they have claws that can grow up to 5 in.

What do you do when you come face to face with a cassowary? ›

If you encounter a southern cassowary, back away slowly and put something like a tree or a backpack between yourself and the bird, and let it go on its way. To report a southern cassowary sighting call 1300 130 372.

How do you survive a cassowary? ›

And if you'd like a handy survival tip, Christopher Kofron suggests NOT crouching down or curling into a ball when confronted by a cassowary: that will put your head and vital organs in striking range. Instead, you should remain standing, move behind a tree, or quickly move away without turning your back.

Is terror bird a dinosaur? ›

Built like stout ostriches with large, hatchet-shaped heads, the terror birds were among the major predators of their day; a lineage of distant dinosaur descendants that lost the ability to fly and became adapted to hunting on the ground.

Can you eat cassowary? ›

Today, their feathers are prized for ornamentation, and the birds remain an important source of meat. "Cassowary is quite a delicacy," Roscoe said.

What is the deadliest bird of prey? ›

The African crowned eagle can hook its claws into prey and lurch right back into the sky. Bird fatalities are rare, and even the most dangerous of birds rarely cause injuries unless they're first provoked — but this deadliest bird on Earth known as the African crowned eagle could be the exception that proves the rule.

Do cassowaries eat snakes? ›

The Cassowary is primarily a omnivorous (or more correctly a frugivore). Its diet consists mainly of fruits that have fallen to the rainforest floor. But it also eats leaves, fungus, insects, snails, frogs, snakes, small animals, and carrion. A cassowary needs up to five kilograms of food a day.

Who would win ostrich vs cassowary? ›

So a battle to the death between the 2 biggest birds? The ostrich is bigger than the cassowary so that gives it one advantage. However, cassowaries are much more aggressive and have sharper beaks. The winning blow, though, is the cassowaries long and razor sharp nails.

Can cassowary be pets? ›

The cassowary is big, territorial, aggressive and can't fly. Often compared to a dinosaur in looks, it's hardly the ideal candidate for a pet.

Can cassowary birds fly? ›

The largest cassowaries can stand as high as six feet and weigh up to 160 pounds. These large birds cannot fly, but their extremely powerful legs propel them at great speeds. They are strong swimmers and can move quickly on both land and water.

Do cassowaries eat fish? ›

Meat does not form a significant part of the cassowary's diet. However, occasionally they will eat birds, frogs, fish, small rodents, and even carrion that they come across in their natural rainforest environments.

How do you draw a cassowary? ›

How to Draw a CASSOWARY!!! - YouTube

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