What Do Cassowaries Eat?

Written by Rebecca
Updated: September 30, 2022
Image Credit Pongpol Teinpothong/Shutterstock.com
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What Do Cassowaries Eat
Cassowaries are frugivores that receive the majority of their nutrition from fruits! In addition they’ll eat insects, eggs, and other opportunistic foods


Key Points

  • Cassowaries eat a wide variety of fruit, eggs, and insects.
  • Cassowaries also eat acorns, palm seeds, and snails.
  • Cassowaries live in rainforests and their diet is tailored to their local surroundings.

Cassowaries are one of the most interesting looking animals on earth. They have a crest on their head made out of the same material as rhino horns, feet with dagger-like nails that look like dinosaur feet, and a unique bright blue head. Given their appearance, its easy to see why cassowaries are known as the “most dangerous birds on Earth.”

Are these birds really a threat or harmless herbivores?

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Let’s dive into what cassowaries eat!

How Do Cassowaries Find Food?

What Do Cassowaries Eat - Cassowary Eating
Bon appetit, cassowary!

Pongpol Teinpothong/Shutterstock.com

Cassowaries are large, flightless birds that bear a resemblance to ostriches, but their habitat couldn’t be much different. While other large birds like ostriches and emus inhabit savannas, shrub lands, and desert-like landscapes, cassowaries live in dense rainforests.

The natural habitat of cassowaries give them the ability to find food by foraging on the lush forest floor for fallen fruit. Sometimes fruit and seeds may be eaten directly off of low hanging foliage. However, cassowaries prefer to find their food on the ground, they have been known to jump several feet into the air to be able to reach higher fruit still on the trees.

With cassowaries living in rainforests, their diet is tailored to their local surroundings. With fruit plentiful, cassowaries simply pick up fallen fruit and nuts from the ground of the forest.

What do Cassowaries Eat?

What do cassowary eat - cassowary with fruit bowl
A young cassowary with a fruit bowl

Susan Flashman/Shutterstock.com

Cassowaries eat a diverse diet, but perhaps 90% of their diet comes from fruits. They prefer larger fruits with nutritious coverings. The species is incredibly important to the rainforests of New Guinea and Northern Australia because they spread the seeds of so many fruits and plants. The government of Queensland notes that 238 different plant species have been observed in the cassowaries’ diet!

The diet of cassowaries consists of foods that include:

  • A wide variety of fruit
  • Quandong trees
  • Acorns
  • Palm seeds
  • Snails
  • Insects
  • Carrion
  • Bird eggs

While cassowaries will eat smaller invertebrates and have even been observed feeding on roadkills and small birds and mammals, it’s important to note that they’re an extremely fruit-dependent species.

A study found that the diet of cassowaries is closer to fruit bats than other birds!

Be Carful Around Cassowaries!

Cassowaries are an imposing looking bird. Females reach the height of humans and their feet have razor sharp claws. If you encounter a cassowary, remember that they’re largely herbivores and would rather avoid contact with humans. So while cassowaries are often called nature’s “most dangerous bird,” if you see one in real life your best move to is simply slowly back away and never approach one.

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What Do Cassowaries Eat - Cassowary Eating

Pongpol Teinpothong/Shutterstock.com
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About the Author

My name is Rebecca and I've been a Professional Freelancer for almost a decade. I write SEO content and graphic design. When I'm not working, I'm obsessing over cats and pet rats.

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