Common Name: Northern Cassowary
Scientific Name: Casuarius unappendiculatus
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Struthioniforms
Family: Casuariidea
Genus: Casuarius
Species: C. unappendiculatus free html hit counter
This is a Casuarius Unappendiculatus, or better known as a Northern Cassowary. They are stalky, flightless birds and have blue skin with black feathers on top. They also have a red neck and blue head. Their beak is kind of a black color with the swelling on its head being an olive green color. They are five feet long (150 cm) and about 4 feet tall. Their identifying characteristics are that they are solitary and shy.
Northern Cassowaries are located in New Guinea and Indonesia and a small population of them live in northwestern Australia. The environment around there is tropical with lots of fruit and water. They fit well into that environment because of their special needs. For example, they need draught free warmth, lots of water to drink, and plenty of calcium. This would make Indonesia and Australia a great place for it to inhabit.
There are actually not that many Northern Cassowaries left. Their population is dramatically decreasing due to ongoing habitat loss and over hunting by not only animals, but humans too. Although Cassowaries are not endangered, they are on the IUNC threatened list. They were put there on November 1, 2006. There are many precautions that we can take to minimize this threat, like not hunting these rare birds. This bird is more towards the bottom of the food chain.
Its beak and lump at the top of its head is what can help them compete for food. It can peck at fruit to eat it and also kill other small animals with the lump. Other animals it competes with for food are birds, such as toucans. Northern Cassowaries eat mostly fruit off short trees and small bushes. Occasionally, they eat fungi, snails, insects, frogs, snakes, and other small animals.
The northern Cassowary has many predators. Some of them are panthers, hawks, eagles, most of all, humans. What they usually use for protecting themselves is the flat bulge on their head. If they were to be attacked, first, they charge at the animal with their bump. Then, after charging at them, they claw them with their abnormally large middle claw.
There are actually a lot of interesting facts about the Northern Cassowary. They belong to the ratite group which is the oldest living branch of birds. The ancestors of this bird actually could fly. Slowly but surely, they lost their ability to fly because of their keeled sternum, which is their wing muscles. After losing their ability to fly, they started getting bigger. Another interesting fact is that during pre-maturity, they slowly start shedding their feathers and after three years of shedding, they become completely bare. Once they are completely bare, they start growing new feathers.
Also, during breeding season, the male makes a flat nest in which the female cassowary then lays three to five green eggs. Then, the female leaves them and goes to mate with another male. The male takes care of the eggs until the hatchlings are about nine months of age. By then, the cassowaries can feed themselves.
Author: Makayla F
Published: 02/2007
Information Provided by: “The IUNC Red List of Threatened Species” 7 February 2007 “The Zip Code Zoo” 7 February 2007 “The Bird Base” 7 February 2007 “The Cassowary in Captivity” 7 February 2007 Picture Provided By: Doria “Northern Cassowary”