159. Cassowary

Cassowary is a large flightless bird native to Northern Australia and the tropical forests of new Guinea. Not much is known about the Northern and the Dwarf cassowaries. The Southern cassowary is the third tallest bird, the first two being the Ostrich and the Emu.

An adult cassowary stands 150 to 180 c.m tall! Females are larger in size and more brightly colored. A female cassowary may grow to height of 2 meters and weigh 58.5 kilograms. The bird has small wings and three toes in each leg. It has sharp claws. The second toe has a dagger like claw 5 inches long. This becomes a mighty weapon when the bird kicks and attacks with it legs.

The bird can jump a height of 5 feet and run at a speed of 50 km/hour through dense forests. It can swim in rivers as well as in the sea. It has a horn-like soft, spongy crest, 18 c.m tall, on its head. This protects the bird’s head from collisions. It is probably used as a weapon to settle the dominance disputes also. It is useful while foraging for food, and acts as an amplifier for the low frequency sounds, the bird produces.

The average life span on this bird is 40 to 50 years. Usually very shy,the birds keep away from human interference. Their main food are plant shoots, grass seeds, fungi, invertebrates and small vertebrates.

When disturbed the bird is capable of inflicting serious injuries to dogs and children.

Visalakshi Ramani


6 Responses to 159. Cassowary

  1. See…they can attack!

    • Why not?
      Man is the only creature who can’t protect himself without the help of the arms and armaments he has created. Man has neither the sharp claws, nor the long nails, nor the beak nor the teeth nor the horns to attack in order to protect himself. Birds CAN kill individually or collectively. I am sure you have watched The Birds by Hitchcock and got scared properly!

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