Fun Cassowary Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
May 09, 2023 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
One of the best cassowary facts is that it is the second heaviest bird found in the forests of Australia.

The cassowary is a ratite native bird of the tropical rain forests of northeast Australia, New Guinea, and the Maluku Islands. There are three cassowary species, namely the northern cassowary (single wattled cassowary), southern cassowaries (double waddle cassowary), and the dwarf cassowary.

They are birds that cannot fly but can run very fast despite their weight. They have a black body with feathers and a blue-colored face with red flaps of skin hanging from their neck that look a little like a red tie, and a hollow casque on their head, which helps protect the skull.

They are known to be dangerous birds because they cannot control their anger and can suddenly get very aggressive. They are not friendly, don't like humans, and will always remain cautious of us.

Sometimes they attack humans and they can injure us badly with the sharp talons on their innermost toes and their sudden slashing blows. They are solitary animals, which means they don't like company and live alone in their limited territories.

They only come together when it is mating season and after the females lay eggs, they leave these eggs with the males. Males sit on the eggs until they hatch and then they take care of the chick for nine months until the chick becomes capable of taking care of himself.

At this point, they go their separate ways. This is the usual life cycle of the female and male southern cassowary.

Here are some amazing cassowary interesting facts that you might enjoy. If you like these facts then do read our guide to the southern cassowary and the crowned eagle too.

Cassowary Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a cassowary?

The cassowary is an unusually large and flightless bird. They are the only members of the family Casuariidae that belongs to the order Casuariiformes, this family also includes emu birds and ostrich birds.

What class of animal does a cassowary belong to?

Cassowaries are birds that belong to the class of Aves.

How many cassowaries are there in the world?

There are three species of cassowary birds in the world. They have a conservation status of Endangered, and there are estimated to be between 2,500 to 9,999 cassowaries left in this world.

Where does a cassowary live?

Cassowaries are a unique bird that is found in tropical rainforests in North Queensland in Australia. They are also found in melaleuca swamps and mangrove forests and can also be found foraging along beaches of the nearby islands of New Guinea.

What is a cassowary's habitat?

The cassowary is a rare bird that is found in only a few specific habitats in this world. Only a handful of these birds are left and they are only found near beaches and tropical rainforests in Australia.

They like to remain in the same territory for most of their lives and they like to live alone, except during courtship when female cassowary birds mate with male cassowary birds.

Who do cassowaries live with?

Cassowaries are solitary animals, they prefer to live alone within their territories. They make a home range and once they establish that, they move regularly through that range. Cassowaries come together when they want to mate, for egg-laying, or sometimes around ample food supplies, otherwise they live alone throughout their lives.

How long does a cassowary live?

The average lifespan of cassowaries is 40-50 years.

How do they reproduce?

Wild female cassowaries have larger territories that overlap with those of several males. When the mating season comes, females make vibratory sounds that attract the male cassowary so that they can mate.

In some cases, while two birds are mating, a third cassowary (another male) will approach, scare off the first male, and then also mate with the female. This results in females producing eggs from different fathers.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the Australian cassowary is Endangered. The numbers of southern cassowary, also known as the double-wattled cassowary, are getting lesser and lesser every day. They are listed as Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Cassowary Fun Facts

What do cassowaries look like?

A cassowary is a large bird with bristly feathers and is flightless. They have a black body covered with feathers and inquisitive eyes set on a vivid blue face.

They have red flaps of skin hanging from their neck that looks like a small tie and a brown-grey hollow casque which is a small 'helmet' on their head. Cassowary feet have three toes with sharp claws. A female cassowary is normally larger than males in both height and weight.

The cassowary has a blue face with a casque-like 'helmet' on its head.

How cute are they?

Whether they are cute or not is subjective, but lots of people do find them cute. Baby cassowaries, known as 'chicks', are very cute and adorable to look at but the cassowary is very cautious with humans and is not friendly in nature. A cassowary attack is dangerous to both humans and animals.

How do they communicate?

The dwarf cassowary and southern cassowaries (Casuarius johnsonii) both produce very low sounds called 'booms' that help them communicate with each other through the dense forest. Their casque helps them to make these low-frequency sounds.

Cassowaries also clap their bills or rumble when they feel a threat or danger approaching. By doing this, they communicate with and warn other cassowaries. Sometimes they hiss or whistle to communicate too.

How big is a cassowary?

A cassowary is very large and it is the second heaviest bird after the ostrich. A typical cassowary height is 6-6.6 ft (1.8-2 m), this is two times bigger than the dwarf cassowary which is 3 ft (36 in) tall.

Can a cassowary fly?

A cassowary cannot fly as they are too heavy in weight and their breastbones lack the keel that anchors the muscles which help birds to fly. However, this doesn't affect them because they are fast runners. A cassowary can run up to 31 mph (50 kmph) and can jump up to 5 ft (1.5 m) high in the air.

How much does a southern cassowary weigh?

Cassowaries weigh between 99-130 lb (45-58.5 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no different names for male and female cassowary birds.

What would you call a baby cassowary?

When the female lays her cassowary eggs, she leaves them with the male cassowaries who sit on them for about eight weeks until the eggs hatch. Then the baby cassowary (also known as 'chicks') stays with the male cassowary and learns from him.

When the cassowary chick has learned everything they need to know, after nine or 10 months, they leave the male cassowary and go on to live their own life.

What do they eat?

The cassowary is an omnivorous animal that feeds on both plants and insects. They love fallen fruits and feed on insects, plants, seeds, leaves, small vertebrates, invertebrates, bacteria, and fungi. Their eating manner involves tossing the fruit or food into the air and swallowing it in one gulp.

How fast can a cassowary run?

Cassowaries are fast runners and they can run up to 31 mph (50 kmph).

Would they make a good pet?

Cassowaries will not make a good pet as they are not friendly in nature and they are very cautious of humans. They can be aggressive at times and cassowary attacks are very dangerous.

When a cassowary is provoked, they are capable of inflicting serious injuries to people as well dogs. A cassowary talon (found on a cassowary foot) is very powerful and when they get irritated, they often kick humans and animals which can cause a serious injury.

Did you know...

One of the best cassowary facts for kids is that the cassowary egg can be found in two colors: green and blue. The cassowary egg is also the third-largest egg among all birds.

One of the best cassowary bird facts is that cassowaries are the closest living species to dinosaurs. Children often call them a 'cassowary dinosaur' because the typical cassowary skull has the same casque as seen on many dinosaurs. This casque is seen by many as evidence that cassowaries are closely related to dinosaurs.

How dangerous is a cassowary?

The cassowary species is given the tag of the most dangerous bird in the world as they become aggressive easily and a cassowary bird attack is very dangerous and can be lethal. They have even been known to kill humans with slashing blows from their feet.

Cassowary claws have a long dagger-like nail that can deliver a fatal injury to a human being and any other animal. An attack from a southern cassowary claw was sadly responsible for the death of a man in Florida in 2019.

Why is the cassowary endangered?

The cassowary is classified as Endangered and today they are only found in dense tropical rainforests in Australia and New Guinea. In recent times, these habitat forests have been increasingly cleared, threatening these wild birds with extinction.

Also, wild cassowaries are at risk from road traffic collisions, with recent years seeing an increase in cassowary mortality from car accidents that has reduced cassowary numbers.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the great green macaw, or the blue and yellow macaw.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our cassowary coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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