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25/11/2010

Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius, Double-wattled Cassowary, Australian Cassowary or Two-wattled Cassowary), Australia


This photo was taken at the Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary, Port Douglas, Australia, and does show a Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius, also known as Double-wattled Cassowary, Australian Cassowary or Two-wattled Cassowary), a large flightless black bird. It is a ratite and therefore related to the Emu, Ostrich, and the genus Rhea.
It has hard and stiff plumage, a brown casque, blue face and neck, red nape and two red wattles hanging down its throat. The three-toed feet are thick and powerful, equipped with a lethal dagger-like claw up to 12 cm on the inner toe. It is the largest member of the cassowary family and is the second heaviest bird on earth, at a maximum size estimated at 85 kilograms and 190 centimetres. It is technically the largest Asian bird (since the extinction of the Arabian Ostrich, and previously the Moa of New Zealand) and the largest Australian bird (though the Emu may be slightly taller). The Southern Cassowary is distributed in tropical rainforests of Indonesia, New Guinea and northeastern Australia, and it prefers elevations below 1,100 m in Australia, and 500 m on New Guinea.

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