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.
At Perth Zoo: Perth Zoo is part of a recovery program for Cassowaries. They can be seen in a rainforest-styled exhibit next to the main lake.
Did you know? Cassowaries can run up to 50 kph.