Why Are Cassowaries Endangered?

Why Are Cassowaries Endangered?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 05/13/2024

Reading time: 2 mins

Despite their reputation as dangerous birds, cassowaries are among the many animals facing endangerment in Australia.

The cassowary is a beautiful, large bird known for its long black feathers, with a bright blue head, and casque on its head. These giant birds are found in the wet tropics of North Queensland, spanning from the Daintree Rainforest to Cape York.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons why cassowaries are considered endangered by the Australian and Queensland State Governments.

Habitat loss and changes 

Habitat loss and changes in the rainforest are the main threats to cassowaries. The loss of rainforest has significantly reduced, with a large percentage of the vegetation cleared in the late 90s. While land clearing has slowed down, it still occurs today to make room for housing.

Human interactions

Along with the land clearing to make room for housing, there are increased human interactions with cassowaries. It’s believed that humans have been deliberately feeding them. This can potentially change their diet and natural behaviour, which can lead them to become disoriented.


Cassowaries are threatened by diseases, with avian tuberculosis being the most common among birds worldwide. As of right now, there is no treatment for avian tuberculosis.

Road accidents

Road accidents are another significant danger for cassowaries. Roads are constructed through their habitats, increasing the risk of collisions as they search for food.

In most road accidents, the cassowary dies, with a small number injured. Drivers should be cautious and drive slowly through the cassowary’s territory.

Dog attacks

Another threat to the cassowary is domestic dogs who walk around freely. Dog attacks have become a big threat not only to cassowaries but also to other wildlife.

Natural events

Natural events like cyclones during the wet season also have an impact on the cassowaries. Severe cyclones can cause extreme damage to wildlife, rainforests, local residents, and infrastructure.

If you’re keen on spotting a cassowary in the wild, walking through the Daintree Rainforest offers a chance to see one. Alternatively, visiting the Daintree Discovery Centre provides one of the best chances to observe cassowaries in their habitat.

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.