Common names (Pratt and Beehler 2015; Folch et al. 2017a; Folch et al. 2017c)
Other colloquial or local names
Fossil history and evolutionary relationships
Closest known extant relatives (Pereira and Baker 2006; Phillips et al. 2010; Pratt and Beehler 2015)
Other close extinct relatives (Worthy et al. 2014)
Culture and folklore
Films and documentaries
Order: Struthioniformes* — cassowaries, emus, ostriches, rheas, kiwis, tinamous
Family: Casuariidae — cassowaries, emus
Genus: Casuarius (Brisson, 1760)
Species: Casuarius casuarius (Linnaeus, 1758) — Southern Cassowary
Species: Casuarius unappendiculatus (Blyth, 1860) — Northern Cassowary
Species: Casuarius bennetti — Dwarf Cassowary
Subspecies: C. b. bennetti (Gould, 1857)
Subspecies: C. b. papuanus (Schelegel, 1871)
Subspecies: C. b. westermanni (P.L. Sclater, 1874)
Sources: del Hoyo et al. (2014), Integrated Taxonomic Information System (2017)
*Cassowaries were previously in Order Casuariiformes; as of 2017, ITIS still includes them in this order, but del Hoyo et al. (2014) include them in Struthioniformes.
Illustration by John Gould of a Southern Cassowary.
Plate 70; by Gould J. The Birds of Australia (supplement), 1851. Made available by the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Public domain.
Head of a Dwarf Cassowary. Compare this to the sculpture, below.
Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved. Note: This is a cropped image.
Ancient stone sculpture of what appears to be a cassowary's head.
From Papua New Guinea, Morobe province. Date unknown.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art writes, "Among many contemporary New Guinea peoples, the cassowary is regarded as a supernaturally powerful animal and this [sculpture] indicates that such beliefs possibly extend far into prehistory."
Image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection. Accession number: 1978.412.1504. Public domain.