Komodo Dragon vs The World’s Deadliest Bird: Who Would Win?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: March 14, 2023
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Komodo dragons are large, powerful monitor lizards that easily hunt deer and other creatures. To many people, these reptiles look and act like dinosaurs. Yet, as we all know, not all reptiles are descended from dinosaurs, including the Komodo dragon. In fact, some modern birds are more likely related to the dinosaurs, like the cassowary. This deadly, flightless bird can kill humans and animals despite opting for smaller prey and plants for food. What happens if a fight broke out between the Komodo dragon vs the world’s deadliest bird?

Don’t worry, we’ve run the numbers and we’re going to tell you how it would play out on the islands that these creatures call home.  

Comparing a Komodo Dragon and a Cassowary

komodo dragon vs the world's deadliest bird
The Komodo dragon is a large, quadrupedal reptile that can weigh 300lbs, and the cassowary is a large, bipedal, and flightless bird that can weigh about 130lbs.
Komodo DragonCassowary
SizeWeight: 150lbs – 300lbs
Height: 1.5ft-2ft
Length: 6ft-10ft
Weight: 55lbs-129lbs
Height: 59in-79in
Speed and Movement Type-11 mph top speed
– Unknown swim speed, but it’s less than their running speed    
– 31 mph  
Senses– Good eyesight
– Use their tongues and Jacobson’s organ to smell and taste their environment and find prey from miles away
– Poor hearing
– Excellent sight
– Attuned hearing that helps them detect low-pitched sounds
– A better sense of smell than most birds  
Defenses– Hard skin with strong scales that are reinforced with bony deposits called osteoderms
– Speed
– Speed
Offensive CapabilitiesPossibly venomous
– Sharp claws hold prey in place
Sharp teeth lead to exsanguination in victims
– Ability to jump up to 5 feet in the air while kicking
– Three claws on their toes
– Two claws are one inch long, but the third claw can grow 5 inches long.    
Predatory Behavior– Ambush predators
– Tries to knock down and bite vital areas on prey, typically the neck.  
– Non-predator, but can be highly defensive of their territory  

What Are Key Differences Between a Komodo Dragon and a Cassowary?

komodo dragon vs the world's deadliest bird

Cassowaries are known for launching brutal attacks

on their foes

©Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock.com

The greatest differences between a Komodo dragon and the world’s deadliest bird are their morphology and size. The Komodo dragon is a large, quadrupedal reptile that can weigh 300lbs, and the cassowary is a large, bipedal, and flightless bird that can weigh about 130lbs.

Although it is the world’s deadliest bird, the cassowary is still not as massive as the Komodo dragon. Nevertheless, these keen insights into the nature of the animals will help us understand the intricacies of a battle between them.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between a Komodo Dragon and a Cassowary?

komodo dragon vs the world's deadliest bird

The cassowary has long claws and powerful legs, while the Komodo dragon is a fearsome carnivore.


The most important thing in most fights between animals is the size of the participants. However, it’s foolish to assume that the largest animal always wins.

We have to look at how each creature uses its combat skills, speed, defenses, and more. We’ll examine all these factors, assign advantages to each creature, and break down how the fight would go.

Komodo Dragon vs The World’s Deadliest Bird : Size

Komodo dragons are larger than the cassowary in most measures. While a cassowary can stand about 80 inches tall and weigh 130lbs, the Komodo dragon can grow 10ft long and weighs 300lbs despite only standing 24 inches tall.

The Komodo dragon is more massive than a cassowary, so it has the advantage here.  

Komodo Dragon vs The World’s Deadliest Bird : Speed and Movement

Cassowaries are very fast birds. They can run at speeds of 31 mph, helping them run from or catch most of anything that lives in their area. The Komodo dragon only moves at 11 mph and is a bit slower than that in the water.

The world’s deadliest bird, the cassowary, has the speed advantage.

komodo dragon vs the world's deadliest bird

The Komodo dragon has better senses than the cassowary overall.


Komodo Dragon vs The World’s Deadliest Bird : Senses

Cassowaries have great senses that are highly attuned to hunting and fighting despite not being frequently involved in either. They have excellent sight, a good sense of hearing, and a sense of smell that is superior to most birds.

Komodo dragons are known for their reptilian sixth sense. They have Jacobson’s organs, and they help the lizard sense chemicals in the air in a similar way that humans smell and taste. Komodo dragons also have good eyesight, but they have poor hearing overall.  

Overall, the Komodo dragon has better senses.

Komodo Dragon vs The World’s Deadliest Bird: Physical Defenses

komodo dragon vs the world's deadliest bird

Cassowarys use their long claws to attack, while Komodo dragons have venomous bites.

©iStock.com/Henry Soon

The Komodo dragon has impressive defenses in the form of reinforced scales along its body. These scales are studded by osteoderms, bony deposits that make it hard to do damage to them. They also have their speed along with their ability to swim and run to protect them.

Cassowaries are all about their speed. If it comes to a fight, they don’t have much protecting them. In the case of the world’s deadliest birds, the best defense is a good offense.

Komodo dragons have better defenses than cassowaries.  

Komodo Dragon vs The World’s Deadliest Bird : Combat Skills

Cassowaries are deadly fighters that use their long claws and talons to attack their foes. These birds don’t fly, but they can leap at and kick foes up to 5 feet above the ground. Their feet have three claws total. They have two small claws that measure about one inch each and a third that can measure 5 inches!

The cassowary’s fighting style is similar to that of the velociraptor, and their long claws and feathers also make people draw the comparison to dinosaurs.  

Still, the Komodo dragon is formidable too. They have a somewhat venomous bite and teeth that cause massive bleeding when they land a bite. They prefer to use their weight and claws to win prey before finishing them off.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Komodo Dragon and the World’s Deadliest Bird?

komodo dragon vs the world's deadliest bird

The Komodo dragon is an expert at taking down prey taller than itself, while the cassowary is adept at escaping.

©Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock.com

A Komodo dragon would win a fight against the cassowary, but it would be a bloody affair. The cassowary is faster than the Komodo dragon and it would use its claws to great effect, cutting into the reptile’s flesh with its huge claws.

Fortunately for the Komodo dragon, its scales won’t let the claws do as much damage as they possibly could. When the lizard gets its bearings, it will charge the cassowary. While quick, the bird isn’t smart enough to dance around a Komodo dragon and slash it to death.

After landing a bite or two on the legs, the Komodo dragon will have slowed its enemy enough to use its weight to its advantage. The Komodo dragon will drag the bird to the ground, inflicting grievous wounds on its body, and then kill it.

It is also possible that the Komodo dragon will simply charge down and surprise the bird with its viciousness since it has never faced anything like this lizard in a fight!

What Animal Can Take Down a Komodo Dragon?

Wild Bengal Tiger lying on the grass and yawns.

Tigers are the world’s largest felines and have the ability to deal crushing blows owing to their great strength


The Tiger: The world’s largest feline, Panthera Tigris comes with the bulk and the size required to deal sufficiently powerful blows capable of giving the fearsome Komodo pause. The tiger is capable of weighing a whopping 660 lbs and measuring 11 feet in length, meaning it will outdo the Komodo even at its largest size of 300 lbs and 10 feet. What’s more, with that immense size is also the ability to lift 1,200 lbs and deliver crushing blows of 10,000 lbs of force.

There is also the issue of bite force, and with an ability to exert its fangs with 1,050 psi, the tiger is capable of delivering more devasting attacks with those fangs compared to the Komodo which only has a bite force of 600 psi.

These qualities mean that confronting a large, full-grown tiger might spell bad news for a Komodo dragon since it may end up previously injured, its ability to inflict a few devastating bites on the feline, notwithstanding.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Luca Vaime/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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