Common, or southern, cassowary (Casuarius casuarius).—Anthony Mercieca/Root Resources

Any of several species of ratite (family Casuariidae) of the Australo-Papuan region. Related to the emu, it has been known to kill humans with slashing blows of its feet, which have long, daggerlike claws on the innermost toe. It has a featherless blue head protected by a bony crest and has a black body (immature birds are brownish). It moves rapidly along narrow tracks in the bush. Cassowaries eat fruit and small animals. The largest species is the common, or southern, cassowary (Casuarius casuarius), which stands almost 5 ft (1.5 m) tall.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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