Southern cassowary

About This Project

An extraordinary bird

The cassowary has a strange brown casque on the top of its head, made of keratin. It has no feathers on its head and neck, where the skin is a striking blue colour, and two red wattles. Like all ratites (the same family as ostriches), it is flightless, but can run as fast as 50 kph! It uses its long claws to defend itself, jumping on its adversary to injure, even kill it.

Solitary creatures, cassowaries only pair up during the breeding season. Once the eggs are laid, the female leaves and it is the male who is responsible for sitting on the eggs and rearing the young.

You will see a pair of cassowaries at La Barben.

Latin name: Casuarius casuarius
Class: Aves
Order: Struthioniformes
Family: Casuariidae
Size: 1.3-1.7 metres tall
Weight: 29-60 kg
Lifespan: 20 to 40 years (in captivity)
Incubation: about 50 days
Number of eggs: 3 – 6
Habitat: tropical forest
Diet: fruit
Distribution: Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (Island of New Guinea), north-eastern Australia
Conservation status: vulnerable