Fascinating Facts about Cassowaries – The Worlds Most Dangerous Bird

Cassowaries are infamous for their attacks on humans, but most of these occur when people stop feeding them!

Did you know that the cassowary is the world’s third-largest bird?

What Makes Cassowaries So Fearsome?

With a height of up to 6.5 ft (2 meters) and weight of nearly 133lbs (60 kg), cassowaries are among the largest birds on Earth.

They are also the most dangerous birds in the world, capable of jumping up to 6.5ft (2 meters) in the air and running as fast as 31 miles per hour (50 km/h).

Their size and abilities make them formidable fighters, and their middle claw, which can grow up to 12 centimeters (4.75″) long, is used as a dagger-like weapon.

Like ostriches and penguins, cassowaries are flightless.

The Unique Beauty of Cassowaries

There are three species of cassowary, which are related to emus and ostriches.

The bird has black feathers and is often compared to a turkey, with bluish coloring on its head and reddish coloring along its neck.

Cassowaries have a casque, a tall feather on the top of their head, and large front-facing eyes that provide excellent vision.

Specially Adapted Hearing

Cassowaries have excellent hearing that is specially adapted to detect the low-frequency calls of other cassowaries.

They make a low-frequency rumbling and booming noise, producing the lowest sounding pitch of any bird.

Cassowary Attacks

There are over 200 reported attacks on humans by cassowaries every year.

The last recorded death caused by a cassowary was in 1926, when a 16-year-old boy was injured in the throat after running from a cassowary and falling to the ground.

Cassowaries usually attack in self-defense or when they feel threatened, and they have been known to attack unprovoked if they expect to be given food.

Many people who work with or protect cassowaries believe that they are peaceful animals that need their own space and respect.

Studies on Cassowary Attacks

A study completed by Christopher Kofron in 1999 on 221 cassowary attacks found that 7 of them were territorial, 32 were defensive, and a staggering 109 were caused by humans stopping feeding them.

Cassowary Habitat and Location

Cassowaries can be found in New Guinea and northeastern parts of Australia.

They play a vital role in the rainforests of northern Australia, helping to spread seeds for the plants.

Fruit-eating birds, such as the cassowary, can help germinate rainforests by passing undigested seeds through their system. These seeds can travel up to half a mile and benefit the plants and trees in the area. Additionally, the cassowary supplements its diet with small animals, insects, and frogs.

Cassowaries have a long life cycle, living up to 12-19 years in the wild and up to 50 years in captivity. Females are larger and stronger than males, but it is the male who incubates the egg for up to 50 days and cares for the chick for up to 9 months.

Unfortunately, the cassowary is now an endangered species, with only up to 2,000 estimated to be left in Australia. Human settlement has introduced dogs and cats as predators, and nearby roads with passing cars have also killed many of these birds. Deforestation for timber, banana, and other plantations has also contributed to the decline in the cassowary population.

The name “cassowary” is believed to come from the Papuan language, meaning “horned head.” There are debates about whether the cassowary is related to dinosaurs, due to its similar body shape and characteristics.

Overall, the cassowary is a beautiful and peaceful bird that is being threatened by human activity. It is not the world’s most dangerous bird, but rather an under-rated species that deserves protection.


What is a cassowary?

A cassowary is a large flightless bird native to the rainforests of Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands. They are known for their distinctive appearance, with a blue head and neck, a red wattle, and a large keratinous casque on their head. They are also known for their dangerous reputation, as they have been known to attack humans.

What makes cassowaries dangerous?

Cassowaries have powerful legs with sharp claws that they use for self-defense. They can run up to 31 miles per hour and jump up to 5 feet in the air. If they feel threatened, they may charge and kick with their powerful legs, potentially causing serious injury or even death.

What do cassowaries eat?

Cassowaries are omnivores and eat a variety of fruits, seeds, and small animals. They are important seed dispersers in the rainforest, as they eat large fruits and excrete the seeds intact. They also eat insects, frogs, and small mammals.

How big do cassowaries get?

Cassowaries are the second tallest bird in the world, after ostriches. They can grow up to 6.6 feet tall and weigh up to 130 pounds. Females are larger than males.

Are cassowaries endangered?

Two of the three species of cassowaries are listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List. The southern cassowary is listed as endangered, and the dwarf cassowary is listed as vulnerable. The main threats to their survival are habitat loss and hunting.

Do cassowaries have any cultural significance?

Cassowaries have played an important role in the culture and mythology of indigenous peoples in Australia and New Guinea. They are often seen as powerful and dangerous animals, and their feathers and bones are used in traditional ceremonies.

Can cassowaries be kept as pets?

Cassowaries are not recommended as pets, as they are dangerous and require a large amount of space and specialized care. In many places, it is illegal to keep them as pets without a permit.

Have there been any notable cassowary attacks on humans?

There have been several documented cases of cassowary attacks on humans, some of which have resulted in serious injury or death. In 2019, a man in Florida was killed by a cassowary he had been keeping as a pet.

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