The cassowary is a large species of flight-less bird, that is natively found in the forests of Papua New Guinea and on it's surrounding islands. The cassowary is closely related to other large flight-less birds including emus and ostriches and is the third tallest and second heaviest bird in the world behind these two.
The cassowary inhabits dense tropical forest on New Guinea and it's surrounding islands and parts of north-eastern Australia. There are three species of cassowary which are the Southern Cassowary or Double-wattled Cassowary, found in southern New Guinea, northeastern Australia, and the Aru Islands, the Dwarf Cassowary or Bennett's Cassowary, found in New Guinea, New Britain, and on Yapen, and the Northern Cassowary or Single-wattled Cassowary, found in northern and western New Guinea, and Yapen.
The cassowary has adapted well to a peaceful life in the depths of the forest and as a result, are rarely seen by humans who are trying to spot them. The cassowary cannot fly and so has developed the need to run and incredibly fast, as these large birds are able to sprint through the jungle at speeds of more than 30mph. The cassowary also has large, sharp claws which aid the cassowary in defending itself from danger.
The most distinctive features of the cassowary are it's large body size and brightly coloured feathers (females are both larger and more colourful than their male counterparts), and the large, spongy crest that protrudes from the top of the cassowary's head, which can grow to 18 cm in height. Although not much is really known about the purpose of these crests, it's thought that the crest of cassowary is used to assert sexual dominance, to settle disputes and also helps this bird when it is running through the thick.
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