The Rainforest’s Cassowary Daintree

The Rainforest’s Cassowary Daintree

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 02/17/2021

Reading time: 3 mins

Considered the guardians of the rainforest, the Southern Cassowary is one of the most important creatures in this ancient land.

Standing at almost 2 metres tall, these massive creatures can be a frightening and incredible sight to see when trekking about the Daintree Rainforest. Some of the most unique birds in Australia, they are flightless, and similar to the native emu, except for their incredible brightly coloured skin and massive horned head.

About the Cassowary

Cassowary, Daintree

Shaped like an emu, the cassowary has a large black feather body, with a long neck featuring bright blue and pink skin. Their head features a massive horn-like helmet called a casque, made with keratinous skin which is similar to a fingernail. This makes them look like a cross between a bird and a dinosaur, being incredible intimidating when met in person. They are fantastic gardeners, with the creatures spreading the seeds of rainforest trees by swallowing and doing their droppings out across the land. This one animal is said to keeping over 150 types of plants and trees alive, as some of the seeds are so large that no other animal can swallow them. They can live up to 30 to 40 years old, and live in solitude majority of their life.

Why are cassowaries endangered?

Sadly, Cassowaries are becoming a rare species, being on the endangered list for more than a decade now. The reason for this is deforestation, with urban development in the Daintree causing a large amount of the bird’s territory to disappear, with many being unsuccessful at establishing a new one. Due to the habitat being developed into large open spaces, the bird’s are more vulnerable to local and brought in predators, as well as roads and vehicles resulting in many birds being run over.

How can you see one?

Although seeing a Cassowary in the Daintree Rainforest is a fantastic experience, it can also be a dangerous one. Most of the time, these birds are quite shy, but if they feel threatened, can turn quite aggressive. Male Cassowaries, in particular, can be quite aggressive, most particularly when protecting their eggs. If you come face to face with one of these birds, be careful. Watching them from a safe distance, while not approaching them in any way. Many attacks have occurred over the years, with the birds causing injury with their razor-sharp claws to visitors who get too close. Simply stay on the walking tracks laid out and marvel at these ancient creatures from afar!

Related article: What endangered animals live in the Daintree Rainforest?

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.