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Encounter with a Cassowary

The bird with the VERY deep voice!

In a tropical woodland in eastern Australia, you glimpse a Southern Cassowary, a huge flightless bird that must rate as the most prehistoric looking of all birds. Cassowaries are capable of making remarkable sounds, including the lowest known bird call in the world, barely audible to the human ear! Learn more about the Southern Cassowary and see photos at the links below.

Support comes from Sasquatch Books, announcing BirdNote the book, BirdNote notecards and a BirdNote journal, gifts for the bird-lover in one’s life.

Full Transcript



Encounter with a Cassowary

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.
[Cassowary “coughing” calls]
That coughing sound is the call of a Southern Cassowary.  It’s a huge, flightless, prehistoric-looking bird, found in the tropical forests of Northeastern Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia.
This bird would look right at home in Jurassic Park. It weighs about 150 pounds and stands nearly six feet tall with a striking bony crest. Its head and long neck are a deep blue... bare and featherless. It looks a lot like an Ostrich, but it’s covered in coarse, black feathers that almost look like fur. Two bright red wattles, like those of a Wild Turkey, dangle from its throat.
Cassowaries eat mostly fruit, but they’ll take just about any food that presents itself… plants, frogs, insects and the like. Females are bigger than males, sometimes a lot bigger. Unlike many other birds, males alone incubate the eggs and care for the young up to nine months.
And cassowaries are capable of making remarkable sounds:
[“Roar” of the Dwarf Cassowary].
But how about this call?
[Cassowary subaudible calls]
It’s the lowest-pitched bird call in the world, and it’s barely audible to the human ear.
Be sure to take a look at these strange birds on our website,
[Cassowary subaudible calls]
Support comes from Sasquatch Books, announcing BirdNote the book, BirdNote notecards and a BirdNote journal, gifts for the bird-lovers in one’s life.
For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Foraging sounds of a Southern Cassowary recorded by L. Macaulay. Queensland ambient recorded by E. Brown.
Various calls of Southern and Dwarf Cassowary recorded and provided by Andrew Mack.
Producer:  John Kessler
Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie
Editor: Ashley Ahearn
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Assistant Producer: Mark Bramhill
BirdNote’s theme music composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler
© 2019 BirdNote   December 2013 / 2019   Narrator: Mary McCann
ID# 120406casso        cassowary-01b

Sights & Sounds

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