Cassowary – The Most Dangerous Bird on Earth

By Anupum Pant


Flightless like the largest bird that ever lived on earth, there is a bird which looks like a turkey-ostrich crossbreed and is significantly smaller than the former. Yet it is one of the largest birds still alive. Unpredictable and aggressive are the two words that describe it. Zoo keepers find it extremely hard to deal with it, as handling it without getting injured in the process is difficult.

Casuarius casurarius, or simply Cassowary has been named the world’s most dangerous bird in the Guinness Book of Records. Found in the rain forests of Australia and New Guinea, these shy birds can slice you into two pieces with a single fatal kick (slightly exaggerated). Despite its stellar self-defense kicks, it has been unsuccessful in protecting itself from humans. It remains on the endangered species list.

The main reason for its population decline is the clearance of its habitat. Other things that contribute to the decline are deaths from motor vehicles, dog attacks, hunters and wild pigs.

How does it kill? – 3 ways

1. It will chase you down: Cassowary can run at speeds up to 50 kph.

2. 12 cm long claws will rip you:

“The inner or second of the three toes is fitted with a long, straight, murderous nail which can sever an arm or eviscerate an abdomen with ease. There are many records of natives being killed by this bird.” – Wikipedia

3. High Jump: A Cassowary can jump up to a height 1 meter. Remember, at this point, its 12 cm claws can reach a very vulnerable point.

They aren’t demons

In case of an encounter, turn your back and It could kill you. But there is a great chance it won’t if you keep facing it.

Cassowary kicks on video:

Elephant Bird – The Heaviest Bird Ever

By Anupum Pant

Scientific Name: Aepyornis maximus

No, it isn’t about a bird with a trunk or tusks. Weighing almost half a ton, the aptly named, elephant bird of Madagascar, was the heaviest bird to have ever existed on earth.  It looked like an Ostrich on steroids and of course it was a flightless bird. The number 3 bird in this picture is an illustration of the Elephant bird (around 10 feet in height) [image]

Note: Although we say that it was the heaviest bird to have ever existed, we can only say that because we haven’t been able to find any traces of a larger bird yet.

Interestingly, it wasn’t something that belonged to the Dinosaur era. It went extinct recently, around the 17th or 18th century, probably due to humans hunting it for food. Since cameras did not exist at that time, only written accounts of its sighting have been found.

As logic dictates, a huge bird would lay huge eggs. So, with a volume of about 180 to 250 times that of a chicken egg, measuring about 1 feet in height, its eggs were the largest laid eggs ever; larger than human heads. The shells could hold around 11 liters of liquid. Its eggs were said to have fed whole families. Some of them have been preserved – Some are being auctioned and some are available in museums. National Geographic Society in Washington holds a specimen that has the skeleton of an unborn Elephant bird.