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Southern Cassowary

From Opus

Photo by Tony Brown
Photo by Tony Brown

Alternative Names: Double-wattled Cassowary, Australian Cassowary

Casuarius casuarius


[edit] Identification

1.5-1.7m Female Larger

  • Black and Shaggy
  • Horn Covered, Bony Helmet, to 17cm high
  • Bare skin on Head Pale Blue
  • Neck Dark Blue - Purple
  • Unmistakable Crimson Wattles

[edit] Female

  • Wattles and bare Skin Brighter

[edit] Juvenile

  • Striped

[edit] Immature

  • Brown turning Black with age
  • Lacks Helmet
  • Wattle Pink-Yellow

Height: 120-180cm, male shorter.

[edit] Taxonomy

This species is monotypic.[1], but some authorities recognize these subspecies (citation needed):

[edit] Distribution

Graphic by nrg800
Graphic by nrg800

Seram and the Aru Islands, New Guinea and surrounding islands and in Australia in coastal north-east Queensland from Cape York to about Townsville. Resident. Common where habitat undisturbed.

[edit] Habitat

Rainforest and dense scrub, often near jungle streams and along forest edges, sometimes in canefields. Often difficult to see and best located by call but has become semi-tame in some parts of Australian range. Occurs singly or in pairs, sometimes small groups.

[edit] Behaviour

  • Pairs to small feeding parties
  • Shy
  • Usually seen at edge of forest or in clearing
  • More likely at Dawn or Dusk
  • Occasionally aggressive if provoked
  • Follows tracks to fruiting trees
  • Swims well

[edit] Voice

Booming, croaking, coughing and grunting sounds, also a shrill whistle often uttered at night. Hisses in alarm.

[edit] Breeding

3-6 (usually 4) light to dark green eggs with coarsely granulated shells (140 x 90mm). Laid in leaf and grass-lined nest on forest floor. Breeds June-October in Australia. Male incubates for 30-40 days and tends young for nine months. Attain adult plumage in three years.

[edit] Diet

Mainly vegetable, particularly palm-nuts, fallen fruits and berries, some insects and other invertebrates.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, JF. 2007. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to October 2007. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019

[edit] Recommended Citation

[edit] External Links


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