EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT: Belle Isle Nature Center has reopened! LEARN MORE

Southern Cassowary

Casuarius casuarius

At the Detroit Zoo
The Detroit Zoo is home to a southern cassowary. Neo was born at the Nashville Zoo in June 2020. She moved to the Detroit Zoo in May 2021. Neo can be found roaming her habitat in the American Grasslands.

Description
The southern, or double-wattled cassowary, is the largest of the cassowaries. As southern cassowaries grow, they develop long powerful legs for running and defense. Adults have a vivid blue and teal face, two red wattles hanging from their neck and a casque or “helmet” atop their heads. Cassowaries are known for their sharp claws — one toenail grows to be nearly five inches long. If a cassowary feels threatened, it will use the dagger-like nail as a weapon.

Fun Facts

  • Cassowaries are descended from dinosaurs.

  • In the forest, they will produce a very deep, loud territorial roar which can be heard by cassowaries a significant distance away.

  • The cassowary, like the emu and ostrich, is another flightless bird.