- Perhaps most notably, the term Cassowary actually applies to an entire genus of large flightless birds. Currently, three species still exist, however. The species named the Southern Cassowary, though, remains by far the most common of the three varieties.
- These magnificent creatures stand out for several reasons. For one, among known similar birds, this fascinating animal ranks as the second heaviest, and also third tallest of them all. Those distinctions alone serve to distinguish them from their peers.
- Yet their distinctiveness doesn’t simply end there. That’s due to the fact that the truly unique birds generally remain quite reclusive. The fascinating avians also continue to prove themselves to be highly elusive, making detailed studies complicated.
- But, the impressive species further remains quite shy, in terms of behavior, even more so than most wild animals. Due to this trait, the large bird also continues to be well known for its ability to rapidly disappear into the dense rainforest when approached.
- The surprising animal generally has a remarkably shy demeanor, as well, when encounters do occur. If provoked, however, the creature does has the ability to inflict serious, possibly even fatal, injuries to humans. That’s because of their powerful legs.
- For the moment, the IUCN has no listing for any of the species of Cassowary on its Red List. They do face various threats, however. Habitat loss represents a growing problem, as with many creatures. And of course, climate change poses a potential threat.
Cassowary Physical Description
Like many creatures around the world, the amazing species displays a comparatively moderate degree of sexual dimorphism. Due to this physiological trait, among all three species of Cassowary, the female typically develops as the larger of the two genders.
But regardless of this, most males still typically attain a remarkable average height of around 5.9 ft (1.8 m). Females, meanwhile, often reach a height of as much as 6.6 ft (2 m). Large females, in point of fact, sometimes weigh as much as an amazing 129 lb (58.5 kg).
The feathers of females also generally appear more colorful than those of the males. Their wings remain vestigial and also extremely small. The legs of this bird develop as rather powerful. Individuals have the ability to run at speeds of as much as 31 mph (50 km/h).
The fabulous Cassowary also has a long, sharp claw on the middle of each of the three toes. This claw sometimes grows to a length of as much as 5 in (12.6 cm). This serves as a very powerful means of self defense, since the bird can strike with great force and accuracy.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Casuariiformes
- Family: Casuariidae
- Genus: Casuariius
Cassowary Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Unfortunately for those who appreciate these creatures, the amazing Cassowary evolved as endemic to a range that’s both highly limited and specific. That’s due to the fact that this marvel of Nature and evolution evolved as native to the extremely wet and humid rainforest.
Sadly, it also only occurs naturally in a few very specific areas. These regions include the island nation of New Guinea, northeastern Australia, and local islands. For the moment, experts have been unable to find any evidence of it ever existing outside that range.
These animals also have a tendency to wander into grasslands, savanna, and swampy regions in search of food. Except for mating season, the beautiful avian usually lives as a solitary animal. Males further appear to be highly territorial, and females seem to be less so.
The amazing bird also possesses the aability to deliver a serious, even fatal blow with its dangerous claw. Though attacks on humans rarely occur, there have been serious injuries, even fatalities reported. Nature designed it with a means of defending itself quite well.
Like many related species, the Cassowary evolved as primarily frugivorous in its eating habits. Sometimes, though, individuals also supplement that diet with the occasional flower, snail, frog, small rodents, etc. These the animal typically feeds on opportunistically.