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1

Southern Cassowary

(Casuarius casuarius)
Alternate name(s): "Double-wattled Cassowary", "Two-wattled Cassowary", "Australian Cassowary"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "johnsonii": "gumbagan" [ngadjon]

Size: 1.5-1.75 m
Weight: 29-34 kg (male), 58 kg (female)
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Southern Cassowary at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "johnsonii"

ADULT

MALE

Near-frontal portrait of a male Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Daintree NP, QLD, March 2015]

Near-frontal view of a male Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Daintree NP, QLD, March 2015]

Close-up lateral view of a male Southern Cassowary preening "on the go" (photo courtesy of J. Boettcher, FNQ Nature Tours)
[Etty Bay, QLD, November 2020]

Lateral view of a male Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Etty Bay Road, near Innisfail, QLD, August 2019]

Lateral view of a male Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Daintree NP, QLD, March 2015]

Near-dorsal view of a male Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Etty Bay Road, near Innisfail, QLD, August 2019]

Frontal view of an adult male Southern Cassowary in captivity

FEMALE

Close-up frontal view of a female Southern Cassowary; note the prominent, long wattles - the sunbasking lady was blissfully unaware of the bird's passage (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Etty Bay Beach, near Innisfail, QLD, May 2022]

Near-frontal view of a female Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Etty Bay Road, near Innisfail, QLD, September 2020]

Close-up near-lateral portrait of a female Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Etty Bay Beach, near Innisfail, QLD, May 2022]

Close-up lateral view of a female Southern Cassowary looking towards the observer (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Etty Bay Beach, near Innisfail, QLD, May 2022]

Close-up lateral portrait of a female Southern Cassowary; the bird adopted this stance several times and its significance is unknown; according to the photographer, it might have been considering: "Did I leave my shoes at home..?"
(photo courtesy of J. Boettcher, FNQ Nature Tours)
[Cape Tribulation, QLD, June 2022]

Near-lateral view of a female Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Etty Bay Road, near Innisfail, QLD, September 2020]

Lateral portrait of a resting female Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Billabong Sanctuary, Townsville, QLD, November 2021]

Lateral view of a female Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Etty Bay Road, near Innisfail, QLD, September 2020]

Near-dorsal view of a female Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Etty Bay Road, near Innisfail, QLD, September 2020]

Sex unknown

Close-up full-frontal portrait of a Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of J. Boettcher, FNQ Nature Tours)
[Cape Tribulation, QLD, June 2022]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of a juvenile Southern Cassowary keeping a keen eye on the photographer (photo courtesy of J. Boettcher, FNQ Nature Tours)
[Kuranda Range, QLD, April 2022]

Close-up lateral view of a juvenile Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of J. Boettcher, FNQ Nature Tours)
[Kuranda Range, QLD, April 2022]

Lateral view of a juvenile Southern Cassowary, front, adult behind (photo courtesy of J. Boettcher, FNQ Nature Tours)
[Daintree NP, QLD, August 2022]

Near-dorsal view of a juvenile Southern Cassowary (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Etty Bay Road, near Innisfail, QLD, August 2019]

Male Southern Cassowary with three chicks crossing a road (photo courtesy of S. Hardy & D. Johnston)
[Daintree to Port Douglas road, QLD, August 2013]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jun - Oct Eggs: 2 - 5 Incubation period: 60 days Fledging age: N/A

Eggs are incubated by the male.

Nest

"bungobittah", "lar", "malunna", "jindi" [bundjalung] = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Scrape Material: Leaf lining Height above ground: N/A

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "mirk", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena", "pum-pum" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 140 x 90 mm Colour: Greenish brown Shape: Elliptical

Southern Cassowary eggs have a structured surface.

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary Elementary unit: Solitary

Pairs, or later family clans, form only during the breeding season.

According to field guides, Southern Cassowary are often found along roadsides...
(photo courtesy of J. Boettcher, FNQ Nature Tours)
[Kuranda Range, QLD, April 2022]

... or crossing a road ... (photo courtesy of S. Hardy & D. Johnston)
[Daintree to Port Douglas road, QLD, August 2013]

... or just standing on the road (photo courtesy of J. Boettcher, FNQ Nature Tours)
[Cape Tribulation, QLD, May 2022]

Food, Diet

Southern Cassowaries are fruit-eaters.

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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