Southern Cassowary (species: Casuarius casuarius) in Moema NP (Gaia Guide)
Casuarius casuarius
Southern Cassowary

©Michael Schmid: Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius)

©Victor Burolla: Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius)

©Donald Hobern: Southern Cassowary
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Struthioniformes
Family Casuariidae
Genus Casuarius
Species Casuarius casuarius
Status vulnerable



Distinguishing features

It has stiff, bristly black plumage, a blue face and neck, red on the nape and two red wattles measuring around 17.8 cm in length hanging down around its throat. A horn-like brown casque, measuring 13 to 16.9 cm high, sits atop the head.

The bill can range from 9.8 to 19 cm. The three-toed feet are thick and powerful, equipped with a lethal dagger-like claw up to 12 cm (4.7 in) on the inner toe.

The plumage is sexually monomorphic, but the female is dominant and larger with a longer casque, larger bill and brighter-colored bare parts. The juveniles have brown longitudinal striped plumage. (Wikipedia)


  • From 150 cm to 190 cm (Height)


  • Up to 85 kg


  • Wingspan data is not yet available.


Interesting facts

  • It is the largest Australian bird though the Emu may be slightly taller.


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

The Southern Cassowary is distributed in tropical rainforests of Indonesia, New Guinea and northeastern Australia, and it prefers elevations below 1,100 m in Australia, and 500 m on New Guinea. (Wikipedia)


It forages on the forest floor for fallen fruit and is capable of safely digesting some fruits toxic to other animals. They also eat fungi, and some insects and small vertebrates.(Wikipedia)

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