Distribution: Northern Queensland
Description: Cassowaries are large, stocky birds with a tough projection on the top of their heads called a ‘casque’. This protects the bird from low branches and vines when moving through the forest. The bird’s plumage is black and coarse. There are vivid reds and blues on the Cassowary’s head.
Diet: Cassowaries are herbivores and eat mostly fruit.
In the wild: When cornered or protecting chicks, Cassowaries will lash out with both feet at once and can injure—or sometimes kill—dogs or humans with the large daggershaped claws on the inside toe on each foot.
Threats: Habitat destruction is a major threat to the Cassowary. Their shrinking habitat has meant they are coming into conflict with humans, where both Cassowaries and humans have been killed.
Conservation: Perth Zoo has partnered with Rainforest Rescue and the Zoo Aquarium Association to support the Save the Cassowary campaign. The national campaign aims to increase awareness about the plight of the Southern Cassowary in Australia. It also raises money to help the species.
Click here to read more about the Save the Cassowary campaign.
At Perth Zoo: Cassowaries can be seen in a rainforest-styled exhibit next to our main lake.
Did you know? Cassowaries can run up to 50 kph.