Cassowary Attack World's Deadliest Bird

Angry casswary

Photo: Angry Cassowary

The cassowary is a large, dangerous bird found in the tropical rainforests of Australia and New Guinea. It is known for its distinctive black and blue colouring, casque on top of its head, dagger-like claws and powerful kicks. It has a reputation for being the world's deadliest bird due to its powerful attack capability. If threatened or provoked, it can be extremely dangerous. A cassowary attack can result in deep puncture wounds, slashing cuts, lacerations, and even death. As recently as 2019, a Florida man died from a cassowary attack. Over 200 attacks are reported in Australia each year.

The cassowary attacks by jumping in the air and kicking forward with its powerful legs. Its inner toes are armed with dagger-like claws, which can grow up to 18cm in length. It has a lightning-fast kick, powerful enough to pierce and rip open flesh and severely injure or even kill its victim. Once provoked, the cassowary will keep up its attack, chasing its victims at speeds up to 50kph.

While the cassowary is the most dangerous bird on the planet, it is not naturally aggressive. It prefers avoiding confrontations, especially with humans. But it is fearless and will stand its ground if approached. If an intruder encroaches on its space, the bird will stretch itself as tall as possible, ruffle its feathers, and let out a loud hiss to scare the intruder off. If this fails, the cassowary will lower its head and produce a deep booming sound. The pigmentation on its neck becomes much brighter, and its body trembles. It will then attack fearlessly.

Cassowary feet with dagger-like claws

Photo: Cassowary's 12 cm (5 in) long claws

Statistics show that the cassowary is actually more frightening than dangerous. The most recent death by cassowary was in 2019. Before this incident, the last recorded death because of a cassowary attack was in 1926. Then, a teenager attempted to attack a cassowary with a club.

Of the 200 cassowary attacks reported in Australia each year, over 70% occurred while humans were attempting to feed these birds. This is because cassowaries become assertive and demanding when they associate humans with food handouts. So don’t feed the cassowary!

What is a Cassowary?