Cassowaries are large flightless birds of the Australo-Papuan region. The cassowary has been known to kill humans with slashing blows of its feet: the innermost of its three toes bears a long, daggerlike nail. The bird moves rapidly along narrow tracks in the bush, its naked blue head protected by a bony helmet, or casque. The body is black in adults, brownish in immature birds. The female lays three to six green eggs, each of which is about 5 inches long and weighs 23 ounces. The male incubates these for about 50 days in a leafy nest on the ground and may also provide most of the early care of the striped young. Cassowaries forage for fruits and small animals. The common, or southern, cassowary, which inhabits New Guinea, nearby islands, and Australia, is the largest species -almost 5 feet tall- and has two long, red wattles on the throat.
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