a comprehensive resource of avian hand rearing techniques for captive bird populations

Southern Cassowary

Casuarius casuarius

Casuariiformes - Casuariidae - Cassowaries

Southern Cassowary - Adult


Southern Cassowary - AdultSouthern Cassowary - Juvenile

Distribution: Most of New Guinea, Aru Island, and two isolated populations in NE Queensland.

Habitat: Rain forest and savanna woodland, often seen along forest edge and riverbanks.

Diet: Fallen fruit, some fungi, invertebrates and small vertebrates.

Breeding: Nest in a shallow depression scraped in the ground lined with grass and leaves. Once eggs are laid female will leave and plays no part in incubation or rearing.

Clutch size: Three-five pale to dark green eggs

Incubation: By male only for 50 days.

Rearing: The young are cared for exclusively by the male.

Fledge age: Chicks independent at 9 months.


Protocol from Paignton Zoo

View Paignton Zoo protocol file >

Protocol established 2000
Used on 9 individuals
Success rate 100.00%


Protocol used for at least 5 individuals with over 75% success*
Used by 2 or more institutions 
Points on minimizing imprinting 
Birds went on to produce fertile eggs 
Birds went on to successfully parent rear 

Warning points

Please keep us up-to-date and contact us with your own updates or new protocols for rearing the Southern Cassowary.


Breeding the Australian cassowary at the Australian Reptile Park, Gosford. KRIC WORRELL. International Zoo Yearbook. Vol 15. Pages 94 - 97

Cassowary Husbandry Maual

Del Hoya, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. (1992). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol1. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Food intake and growth rate of Cassowary chicks Casuarius spp reared at Mendi, Southern Highland Papua New Guinea. BRIAN REID. International Zoo Yearbook. Vol 26. Pages 189-198

Humidity and successful artificial incubation of avian eggs: hatching the Cassowary at Denver Zoo. GEOFFREY F. BIRCHARD. International Zoo Yearbook. Vol 22. Pages 164 - 167

Video of puppet rearing

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