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Casuariidae – Cassowaries and Emu

casuariidae
Southern Cassowary in Australia: Photo by Paul Kessler

Welcome to our comprehensive collection of ID guides for the Casuariidae family! Explore the remarkable diversity of these flightless birds, known for their distinct appearance and intriguing behaviors. From their striking plumage to their unique habitats, our guides offer valuable insights for birders and enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re seeking to identify different species or learn more about their fascinating traits, you’ll find everything you need right here. Join us as we journey into the captivating world of the Casuariidae family and discover the wonders of these iconic birds.

Overview of Casuariidae

The Emu dominates the expansive open landscapes of Australia, while cassowaries reign supreme in the dense understory of humid forests spanning northeastern Australia and New Guinea. Like many others in their order, male birds take sole responsibility for caring for eggs and chicks, with no assistance from females. Cassowaries boast a distinctive dagger-like claw on their second toes, enabling them, along with Emus, to fiercely defend their young with powerful kicks and slashes. Both groups exhibit brightly colored bare facial skin, with cassowaries additionally featuring a flexible casque atop their heads and colorful wattles adorning their necks. Remarkably, these birds are believed to be the only species that regularly employ infrasound in their communication.