Sunday, June 7, 2009

This large primitive flightless bird is a Southern Cassowary, they live in the rainforrests of far north queensland. Their feathers, like emus lack the hooks that hold the feather barbs together on birds that fly. These birds can be extremly dangerous if they are cornered or surprised, especially if they have chicks with them.

These birds can be as tall as 2m and weigh up to 75kg! (It is the females that are this size. The males are slightly smaller.) They aren't as tall as an emu but they are heavier. They mainly eat rainforrest fruits and seeds which they spread through the forrest in their waste and so are important vectors of plant propagation. Over 230 different plant species of seeds have been found in their droppings. They will also eat things like snails, flowers and fern fronds if nothing else is around. Some seeds are so large that they are they only animal that can disperse the seeds. They have a casque (helmet) which grows bigger with age and dominance. Recent research suggests that it may assist in helping them hear other cassowaries as it may help amplify the sound vibrations of other individuals calls.

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