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Dwarf Cassowary

Casuarius bennetti

The dwarf cassowary, scientifically known as Casuarius bennetti, is the smallest of the three extant cassowary species. This flightless bird is adorned with stiff black plumage, a distinctive low triangular casque atop its head, and a blue neck graced with pink cheeks and red skin patches. Females typically outsize males, boasting longer casques and more vividly colored bare skin.

Identification Tips

When observing the dwarf cassowary, look for a bird measuring between 99 to 150 cm in length and weighing 17.6 to 26 kg. Its powerful feet are equipped with formidable claws, the innermost being dagger-like. The casque, bill size, and overall stature are smaller compared to its cassowary relatives.

Habitat

This species favors the mountain forests of New Guinea, New Britain, and Yapen Island, thriving at altitudes of up to 3,300 meters. In the absence of competing cassowary species, it may also inhabit lowland areas.

Distribution

The dwarf cassowary's range spans approximately 258,000 square kilometers across its mountainous and sometimes lowland habitats.

Behaviour

A solitary creature by nature, the dwarf cassowary typically pairs only during the breeding season. It may engage in seasonal migrations within its range.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the dwarf cassowary primarily consists of fallen fruits, which it may also pluck from shrubs. It uses its casque to forage through leaf litter, uncovering fungi, insects, plant matter, and small vertebrates such as lizards and frogs.

Conservation status

Previously classified as Near Threatened, the dwarf cassowary's status has been updated to Least Concern. This change reflects stable population numbers and a reduction in hunting pressures compared to the past. However, the overall population trend remains largely unknown.

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More Cassowaries, Emu

A photo of a Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius)

Southern Cassowary

Casuarius casuarius
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