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Zoo location: 
Scientific Name: 
Casuarius casuarius
Species class: 
Quick Facts

Lifespan: Up to 20 years in wild., and up to 40 years in captivity.

Size: 1.5-1.75m

Weight: 60-70kgs

Fun Facts

Heavy bird: Cassowaries are the heaviest bird in Australia. They are flightless, belonging to the group Ratites (flightless running birds with flat breastbones) which includes Emus and Ostriches.

Fast: Can run at speeds of up to 50km/hr.

Rainforest Gardeners: Cassowaries are responsible for the distribution and germination of many North Queensland rainforest trees.

They eat the fruits from these trees and excrete the seeds, allowing them to germinate.

As some of the seeds they eat are too big to be eaten by any other fruit eating animals, many flora species  that are present in our rainforests may not be able to survive without Cassowaries.

Each Cassowary Poo can contain up to a kilo of seeds!

Communicate: Cassowaries produce very low frequency sounds which help them to communicate through dense forest.

Casque: No one knows for sure why Cassowaries have casques – the unique protrusion on the top of their heads.

Theories include:  casques could reveal a bird’s age or be used as a sort of helmet or shock absorber that protects cassowaries’ heads as they stroll through the rain forest underbrush.

The casque could work much like a hornbill’s casque does in helping the bird make sounds.

It has also been suggested that the casque is connected to the ear canal and may be assist in receiving low frequency sound.

The Southern Cassowary is a large, flightless bird with a distinct red and blue neck and horn-like casque. The bird is native to Australia and Papua New Guniea.

At Taronga:

At Taronga Zoo we currently have 2 Cassowaries: A female named Macca, and a male named Bedarra. Bedarra  arrived from Australia Zoo in 2012 and we hope that the two will form a breeding pair. Splat, our second female, recently moved to the Australian Reptile park. 

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