Today I want to write about a really cool and scary bird, the southern cassowary.
Here are five interesting facts about them:
- Southern cassowaries are ratites, a family of large flightless birds that includes ostriches, emus and rheas. Females are larger and heavier than males and grow up to 1.7 metres tall and weigh up to 60 kg.
- The name cassowary comes from a local Papuan word meaning horned head. They have a distinctive hard helmet on top of their heads that they use as they move through thick forest with their head down. They also have very sharp, long claws on their feet, with the claw on the inner toe growing to 12 cm long. They use them to defend themselves and can kill a person.
- Southern cassowaries are very important for the environment. They eat fruit and spread the seeds around the forest in their poo, helping the trees to spread their range.
- At breeding time, the males make a nest that the females lay 3-5 large olive green eggs in. The males incubate the eggs and raise the chicks by themselves, looking after them for almost a year and a half.
- Southern cassowaries live in tropical rainforests in northern Queensland and New Guinea. They are considered vulnerable to extinction due to habitat loss, road accidents and feral dogs and pigs eating their chicks and eggs.
I hope that you found these facts interesting and learned something new.
Are there any other interesting facts that you would like to share about southern cassowaries?