southern-cassowary

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While cassowaries have been known to eat fungi, flowers, snails, insects, frogs, birds, rats, mice, and even carrion, their diet consists primarily of fruit.  They will eat the fruit of several hundred species of tree and bush, and one tree, the cassowary plum (which is toxic to other species but eaten readily by the cassowary), has even been named for the birds.  Cassowaries can become extremely aggressive about their food; when they find a tree that is dropping fruit, they will stay there and eat, chasing away any other cassowaries who try to approach and feed, until the fruit is gone.

Cassowaries will swallow fruits whole, even large ones like apples and plums.  Because of this, seeds and pits will go through the cassowary’s digestive system and be passed in their droppings.  These birds have been known to distribute seeds over distances of over a kilometre, making them hugely important in the dispersal and germination of fruit trees through the rainforests.  Some seeds, such as those of the Ryparosa trees, are shown to have much greater germination rates when they have been through the gut of a cassowary.  These makes these birds a keystone species for the rainforests they inhabit.

World Cassowary Day 2016

It’s World Cassowary Day! Technically it’s focused around the endangered Southern Cassowary, which also happens to be the third largest extant bird on the planet, and the second heaviest. But I think Casuarius are an excellent bunch of birds, so here’s a mob of all the extant species to show off their fancy stuff.

Cassowary vocabulary - Kasuarenvokabular German


der Kasuar -
the cassowary
der Laufvogel - the flightless bird
die Landwirbeltiere (pl.) - the tetrapods
der Vogel - the bird
die Urkiefervögel (pl.) -  the palaeognathae

der Einlappenkasuar - the northern cassowary
der Helmkasuar - the southern cassowary
der Bennettkasuar - the dwarf cassowary
Note: they all have several names, I took the ones that appeared to be most common

Neuguinea - New Guinea
der tropische Regenwald - the tropical rainforest

der Hautlappen - the wattle
der Helm - the casque
das Gefieder - the plumage
der Flügel - the wing
der Zeh - the toe
die Kralle - the claw
das Ei - the egg


scheu - shy (as in very careful and a bit scared shy)
dämmerungsaktiv -  active at twilight
nachtaktiv -  nocturnal
flugunfähig - flightless (”unable to fly”)
gefiedert - feathered

Originally posted by pbsnature

Requested by blackjackgabbiani

One of my personal favorite birds is the Australian Lyrebird, which, like Chatot, can mimic almost any sound it hears. This includes not only tons of different species of bird sounds, dogs, humans, and also chainsaws, car alarms, and camera shutters.

The trick to the Lyrebird’s mimicry (and Chatot) lies within it’s throat. Instead of vocal chords like we have, Chatot has a syrinx. Our vocal chords are placed much closer to our mouth, but a bird’s syrinx is located much closer to their lungs. This, and the fact that it’s more of a fork-shape, allow birds to make a wide range of sound, and sometimes even several at once.

Other than that, the syrinx is relatively close to our vocal chords. The walls of the syrinx vibrate when air is passed through them, which creates a noise. Lyrebird’s have one of the most complexly-muscled synrinxes of any bird; which is why they can make such a wide range of sounds.

Lots of birds can mimic human speech, such as parrots and ravens. Many of our sounds depend on our lips, which birds do not have. They can make all the same sounds with their hard beaks because of their thick tongues–which, depsite what Chatot’s entry says, are not like ours at all.

Other than that, parrots are very social creatures with very specialized hearing. They’re better at hearing shorter notes and separating sounds than we are; enabling them to pick up and replicate phrases quickly.

Chatot has a specialized, highly muscled syrinx which it can use to recreate almost any sound it hears. Its tongue is not like a humans, but because of this it can mimic human speech even without lips.

Chatot has to be one of the more weirdly shaped pokémon, most notably its head (pun intended). The best thing I can compare this to is the Crested Duck, which sport a nice variety of hairstyles:

Their hairstyles are actually a result of a genetic mutation which changes the shape of their skull. There are many other birds who show a crest like this, including the Southern Cassowary and the Andean cock-of-the-rock:

For ducks, the crest’s purpose is basically purely aesthetic and is usually bred by humans. For other birds, crests are used wildly in breeding, communication with its own species, and intimidation for potential threats. For whatever reason, Chatot’s head evolved into the music-note shape. To attract mates, scare off predators, or possibly even befriend humans, it’s skull mutated over generations into the Chatot we know today.

Chatot’s uniquely shaped head is a result of a mutation in its skull. Its crest helps in mating, communicating, and threatening other pokémon.

Chatot’s bright colors are also attractive during mating season. I’ve included so many bird pictures in this article already, I might as well finish with one more. Chatot’s color scheme is closely based off of masked lovebirds in our world:

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After mating, the female cassowary will lay three to six large, green eggs.  Once these eggs are laid, the female’s job is done, and she will wander off to find another male to mate with.  It is the father who constructs a nest of waterproof vegetation and incubates the eggs for the next fifty days.  A devoted parent, the male will not leave his eggs until they have hatched.  A broody male cassowary does not need to eat, drink, or even defecate for the entire period of incubation.

Cassowary chicks are small, beige in colour, with dark brown stripes.  The father will protect his new family with devotion, showing them what foods to eat and ferociously protecting them from predators.  The chicks will stay with their father for the next nine months.

It has also been noted in zoos that cassowary chicks will imprint readily on anyone who is present when they hatch, including humans.  These chicks are then extremely tame and will follow their adopted parent anywhere.  In some native villages in New Guinea, cassowary chicks are even kept as pets and left to wander loose through the village, like chickens.  However, even the tamest chick will turn savage and dangerous upon reaching adulthood.  

Happy Father’s Day! We’re celebrating with a dedicated animal dad, the Southern Cassowary. 

This incredible-looking flightless bird belongs to a group called the ratites, an ancient lineage. In all three cassowary species, males raise the offspring for up to 18 months! Learn more about this bird in the exhibition Dinosaurs Among Us, and meet more amazing animal parents

Image: Wikipedia

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One of the cassowary’s most dramatic features is the large, bony casque on its head.  These casques continue to grow as the bird ages, are keratinous but covered with skin, and hollow within, spanned with fine fibres that may, or may not have a sound-related function.  No one is quite sure what the casque’s function is, but a number of theories have been proposed.  They may protect the cassowary’s head from falling fruit or from blows as it charges through underbrush.  They may also be a sexual characteristic used in dominance battles.  But the most prominent theory at the moment is that the casque is involved in the production and/or reception of low-frequency sounds, since all three species of cassowary are known to communicate using “booming” calls that are the lowest frequency calls produced by any birds.

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Cassowaries are generally solitary birds that are also fiercely territorial, with the exception of the mating season. Females, which are larger than males, hold large territories that overlap with the territories of several males.  A male cassowary will tolerate another male on his turf, but a female will chase other females away with alarming ferocity.  

When the mating season comes, the female will wander through her land making low, vibrating sounds to attract a male.  Copulation will take place after some courtship, or else the female will chase the male into a nearby body of water.  Contrary to expectations, cassowaries are actually excellent swimmers, and the rest of the mating dance will take place in the water.  

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There are three species of cassowary.  The southern cassowary, or double-wattled cassowary (top image), is the most common, and is the third largest bird in the world after the ostrich and emu.  The northern cassowary, or single-wattled cassowary, or golden-necked cassowary (second image), lives in the lowlands and swamps of New Guinea.  The dwarf cassowary, or mountain cassowary (third image), is the smallest of the three species, and lives in the mountain forests of New Guinea.  

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The cassowary is not only respected and somewhat feared by the natives of Australia and New Guinea, it was and is also considered a vital food source.  Natives of the New Guinea highlands will take young cassowary chicks and raise them as meat animals, or to exchange as high-status gifts.  This can be perilous, as an escaped cassowary can cause a lot of damage or injure/kill villagers, which will require compensation from the bird’s keeper, or can even result in a revenge killing.  

As for the cassowary’s meat, it is said to have an extremely strong flavour, so much so that people have been known to have dizzy spells on first tasting it.  In addition, it’s extremely tough. Administrative officers in New Guinea were told that cassowary “should be cooked with a stone in the pot: when the stone is ready to eat so is the Cassowary.”

Southern cassowaries (Casuarius casuarius) are some of the coolest animals I have ever seen.
This lovely lady tried to court me (probably because I was wearing shorts the color of their wattles).
Their courting ritual is AWESOME. The females lower their heads under their bodies and vibrate their their entire torso, producing a sound kind of like a bass drum. This is supposed to entice the male, who will run towards the female with his neck parallel to the ground and crouch next to her. At this point, it is up to the female whether she mates with him or attacks him.

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Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius)

  • Found in the tropical rain forests of Australia and various Oceanian islands. 
  • Height ranges between five and six feet, making it one of world’s largest birds. Females can weight up to 130lbs, while males are often much smaller. 
  • Typically foragers feeding on fallen fruits (some of which are toxic), fungi, insects, and small vertebrates. 
  • Males build nests and incubate the eggs, which start out a bright pea-green in color.
  • Well-known for their powerful kick and razor-sharp claws which can be over four and a half inches in length, and potentially lethal to a human being. 
  • Currently listed as Vulnerable with declining populations due to habitat loss, nest raids by dogs, hunting, and becoming roadkill.
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Florida - Living Non-Crocs! (Pt. 2)

Ahh, again with the dromaeosaur-cassowary comparisons. This was the first time I ever had the chance to see one of these remarkable ratites (Casuarius casuarius), but I somehow wasn’t surprised to see the sign wax poetic about its killing claw in the same way as every wildlife documentary ever.

A quick eye also yielded a glance of this little Brown anole (Anolis sagrei) scampering around. They’re a highly common, in fact invasive, species in these parts, but the cute little bit of skin not-quite-shed from its tail prompted me to get a pic before it ran away.

Nearby was a somewhat larger lizard, the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). I’ve already seen these many times, but their size never ceases to impress. On our way out, I was rewarded with a glimpse of one last animal, the beautiful Toco toucan (Ramphastos toco).

All in all—a highly interesting experience, and rewarding for anybody with a passion for archosaurs, especially crocodilians. If you find yourself in the area, consider stopping by.

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Einblick 2 in meine Bachelorarbeit.

Zu sehen sind verschiedene Gefieder, die nicht nur in ihrem Aussehen, sondern auch in ihrem haptischen Eindruck stark variieren.

Weitere Teile der Arbeit sind hier zu finden!

für die Vogelverrückten – von oben nach unten / links nach rechts: Grünreiherküken, Schleiereule, Haushuhn,Sprosser, Heckenbraunelle, Rostgans und Helmkasuar mit Küken.

~

Second part of my illustration series for my bachelor thesis. You can find other parts here.

This part shows how plumages can vary in their appearance and therefore also in their haptic impression.

For those bird enthusiasts: Green heron chick, barn owl, chicken, thrush nightingale, dunnock, ruddy shelduck and southern cassowary with chick.