Southern cassowaries live primarily in lowland rainforests, typically less than 1, meters elevation, and occasionally are found in eucalyptus forests, savannas, palm scrub, and in forested swamps. Southern cassowaries are large, robust birds with long powerful legs for running and defense; the claws on the toes are up to 12 cm long. Their bodies are covered with dark brown or black feathers which look more like thick, coarse hair. The neck and head have no feathers and are boldly colored blue and red. On their heads there is a large bony casque which is made of trabecular bone and cartilage. The wings are extremely small and there are vestiges of primary feathers in the form of five or six long white spines.
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The distribution shown is generalised from the Departments Species of National Environmental Significance dataset. This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. Some species information is withheld in line with sensitive species polices.
See map caveat for more information. The southern cassowary is one of 20 birds that the Australian Government has prioritised resource allocation to support the species recovery effort. The Threatened Species Strategy webpage includes information on what is being done to support the species recovery effort.
The southern cassowary is a flightless bird and the largest native animal in Australian rainforests. Cassowaries are very territorial and mostly solitary. Cassowaries eat fleshy fruits of over species of plants, dispersing seeds long distances in the process.
This makes them a keystone species in the World Heritage listed rainforests of tropical Queensland. For the most current information relating to the species and to assist with regulatory considerations, refer to its Recovery Plan.
Information may also be available in the species significant impact guidelines or recent research that has been undertaken Campbell Barker, R. Vestjens The Food of Australian Birds. Reciprocal ecosystem impact and behavioural interactions between cassowaries, Casuarius casuarius , and humans, Homo sapiens , exploring the natural-human environment interface and its implications for endangered species recovery. Biotropica Australia A framework to establish lowland habitat linkages for the Southern Cassowary Casuarius casuarius johnsonii between Cairns and Cardwell.
Report commissioned by the Australian Rainforest Foundation. Birds Australia Draft survey standards for birds.
Species accounts. Report prepared for DEH. Melbourne: Birds Australia. Buosi, P. Burnett A report for DEH. Campbell, H. Dwyer, S. Fitzgibbons, C. Klein, G. Lauridsen, A. McKeown, A. Olsson, S. Sullivan, M. Westcott Prioritising the protection of habitat utilised by southern cassowaries Casuarius casuarius johnsonii. Endangered Species Research. Crome, F. Management of Cassowaries in the fragmented rainforests of north Queensland. Special people, a special animal and a special vision: the first steps to restoring a fragmented tropical landscape.
In: Saunders, D. Ehrlich, eds. Page s Moore Cassowaries in north-eastern Queensland: report of a survey and a review and assessment of their status and conservation and management needs. Australian Wildlife Research. Cassowary populations and their conservation between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation.
Unpublished report to the Douglas Shire Council. Significant Impact Guidelines for the endangered southern cassowary Casuarius casuarius johnsonii Wet Tropics Population. EPBC Act policy statement 3. Garnett, S. Crowley The Action Plan for Australian Birds Hill, R.
Williams, P. Pert, R. Grace, T. Jenkins Public Consultation Draft. Kutt, A. King, S. Latch Brisbane, Queensland: Environment Protection Agency. Latch, P. National recovery plan for the southern cassowary Casuarius casuarius johnsonii. Environmental Protection Agency. Marchant, S. Higgins, eds.
Volume One - Ratites to Ducks. Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press. Moore, L. Ecology and population viability analysis of the southern cassowary, Causarius casuarius johnsonii , Mission Beach, north Queensland. Townsville: James Cook University. Cassowaries still feeling cyclone pain. Implications of environmental catastrophes and climate change for the management of an endangered species: the Southern Cassoawary Casuarius casuarius johnsonii.
Unpublished report. Pizzey, G. Knight Pymble, Sydney: Angus and Robertson. Brisbane: Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. The status of cassowaries on Cape York Peninsula. Westcott, D. Counting cassowaries - what does Cassowary sign reveal about their abundance.
Wildlife Research. Reid Use of medetomidine for capture and restraint of cassowaries Casuarius casuarius. Australian Veterinary Journal. McKeown Incorporating patterns of disperser behaviour into models of seed dispersal and its effects on estimated dispersal curves.
Australian Biological Resources Study, ed. Australian Faunal Directory. Australian Biological Resources Study. Australian Government a. Commonwealth of Australia Declaration under s, s, and s of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes.
Canberra: Federal Register of Legislative Instruments. Unpublished species profile. Dutson
Sign in to see your badges. Enormous flightless bird with dark glossy plumage and large, horn-like plate on colorful head with two red neck wattles. Unlikely to be confused with other species. Hatchlings are brown and strongly striped. Juvenile and Immature birds are similar to adults but browner and with an absent or developing head-plate. Found in dense tropical rainforest, where it can be seen crossing roads, or along roadsides. Choose a region to view Weekly Bar Chart.
Species Profile and Threats Database
The distribution shown is generalised from the Departments Species of National Environmental Significance dataset. This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. Some species information is withheld in line with sensitive species polices. See map caveat for more information. The southern cassowary is one of 20 birds that the Australian Government has prioritised resource allocation to support the species recovery effort. The Threatened Species Strategy webpage includes information on what is being done to support the species recovery effort.
There are three extant species. The most common of these, the southern cassowary , is the third-tallest and second-heaviest living bird, smaller only than the ostrich and emu. Cassowaries feed mainly on fruit , although all species are truly omnivorous and will take a range of other plant food, including shoots and grass seeds, in addition to fungi , invertebrates , and small vertebrates. Cassowaries are very wary of humans, but if provoked they are capable of inflicting serious injuries, including fatal, to both dogs and people. It has often been labeled "the world's most dangerous bird".
As tall as a person, with a high helmet on its head, a vivid blue neck and long drooping red wattles—the southern cassowary is found only in the tropical rainforests of north-east Queensland, Papua New Guinea and some surrounding islands. Casuarius casuarius johnsonii: a southern cassowary chick left and an adult southern cassowary right. In Australia the southern cassowary is found in far north Queensland's tropical rainforests, melaleuca swamps and mangrove forests. The southern cassowary is an important rainforest gardener, spreading the seeds of rainforest trees. Sometimes the seeds are so large that no other animal can swallow and disperse them.