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One-Wattled Cassowary

About One-Wattled Cassowary

This bird is a huge flightless bird with a massive body, small wings, powerful legs and feet with only three large toes. Hard, coarse, glossy black plumage, with bard blue skin on head (often with reddish mark on back crown), forming two folds at base of bill, abruptly changing to red, sometimes yellow, skin on lower neck with a further one or two folds, and a red or yellow stripe running toward shoulder; flattened, horny, grayish to greenish “casque” or “helmet” on top of head; legs grayish-black; bill horn-colored; eyes yellowish. Young birds have dull brown plumage, lack bright skin colors on head and neck, and have smaller casque and wattles.

The One-Wattled Cassowary bird breeds June through October. The nest is a shallow scrape on the forest floor, lined with grass and leaves. The female lays 3-8 pale to dark green eggs, incubated by the male for 49-56 days.

Along with the two other cassowary species, this impressive bird is potentially one of the world’s most dangerous. If this bird or its chicks are threatened by a dog or a human, for example, this bird my leap up and lash out with its four inch long razor-sharp claw of the inner toe. This action can disembowel an opponent. However, this bird is in far more danger from humans as a result of hunting and destruction of the rain forest.