Dwarf Cassowary Casuarius bennetti


Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Least Concern. Recent information suggests that hunting may not be driving a significant decline as was previously thought. It is said to be heavily hunted in some areas, yet not hunted at all in others. Many uninhabited areas remain where this species is believed to be doing well and the current population is described as stable.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as generally scarce, although locally common in north-eastern New Guinea (del Hoyo et al. 1992).

Trend justification
There are no data on population trends; however, the species is currently thought to be stable (B. Beehler in litt. 2012). There are fewer firearms in New Guinea compared to 30 years ago, and many uninhabited areas remaining where this species is believed to be doing well (B. Beehler in litt. 2012).

Distribution and population

This species occurs in New Guinea (Papua, formerly Irian Jaya, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) and, presumably as a long-established introduction, on New Britain.


It is a forest species occurring into the mountains and occasionally to the treeline at 3,600 m. It possibly undertakes altitudinal migrations in some parts of its range (A. Mack in litt. 2012). Feeds primarily on fallen fruit but also fungi, invertebrates and small vertebrates (Folch et al. 2014).


Although probably tolerant of moderate habitat degradation, logging opens up previously inaccessible areas to hunters, with hunting thought to be unsustainable in some parts of the species's range (Johnson et al. 2004). Road and airstrip construction similarly increases the penetration of the hunting market (A. Mack in litt. 2012). Predation by pigs and dogs may be a threat to this species, but this has not yet been quantified. Despite suffering from heavy hunting pressure, it remains relatively common over a wide altitudinal range (Coates 1985, Beehler et al. 1986, A. Mack in litt. 1999, B. Beehler in litt. 2000).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None are known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor populations in protected areas. Quantify the effects of hunting, logging and predation by pigs and dogs. Promote community-based hunting restrictions, particularly regarding the use of guns. Research population dynamics. Prevent habitat clearance.


Text account compilers
Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Khwaja, N. & Ashpole, J

Beehler, B., Mack, A. & Supuma, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Casuarius bennetti. Downloaded from on 25/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/03/2023.