LC
Southern Cassowary Casuarius casuarius



Taxonomy

Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Least Concern
2017 Least Concern
2016 Vulnerable A2cde
2012 Vulnerable A2cde
2008 Vulnerable A2c,d,e; A3c,d,e; A4c,d,e
2004 Vulnerable
2000 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Medium
Land mass type Land-mass type - shelf island
Land-mass type - Australia
Average mass 44000 g
Distribution

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 1,980,000 medium
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 20000-49999 poor suspected 2016
Population trend Decreasing poor suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 12.5 - - -

Population justification:

Westcott et al. (2014) estimated the Australian population to number 4,000 individuals, with densities varying from 0.04-1.8 birds per km² in rainforest. Population densities are much higher in most of its New Guinea range away from the limited centres of population. In the one quantitative study of cassowary populations in New Guinea, there were 14 (9–21) of the allopatric Northern Cassowary C. unappendiculatus per km² in primary forest, 10 (5-17) in >30 year old secondary forest, 4 per km² (2-8.5) in recently logged (< 3 years) forest and 1.4 (0.4–5.6) birds per km² in forest gardens (Pangau-Adam et al. 2015). C. casuarius is widespread across its New Guinea range which is about 15 times the size of its range Australia. The total population is precautionarily placed in the band 20,000-49,000 mature individuals but is likely to be higher (G. Dutson in litt. 2016).

Trend justification: The species suffered a rapid decline in Australia until its habitat was largely protected by World Heritage listing in 1988 (Garnett et al. 2011). Numbers in Australia have been almost stable since 1988 (Garnett et al. 2011, Westcott et al. 2014). In New Guinea, it is widespread but less common in logged forest (I. Woxvold pers. comm. per G. Dutson in litt. 2016). In the one quantitative study of the allopatric Northern Cassowary C. unappendiculatus, there were 14 (9–21) per km² in primary forest, 10 (5-17) in >30 year old secondary forest and 4 per km² (2-8.5) in recently logged (< 3 years) forest (Pangau-Adam et al. 2015). In the species's core range of Gulf and Western Provinces, Papua New Guinea, 4% of rainforest was logged and 1.4% deforested between 2002-2014 (Bryan and Shearman 2015), suggesting a decline of 1-10% over three generations (37 years). There are low human populations in most logged areas and therefore logging roads facilitate only insignificant increases in hunting rates, at least in Papua New Guinea (I. Woxvold pers. comm. per G. Dutson in litt. 2016). A recent surge in hunting to sell as traditional bride price gifts in Papua New Guinea is a concern but probably only affects a small number of individuals. In Australia, cassowary mortality due to traffic strike was significantly increased after cyclonic events, however, this did not result in significant declines in the population when examined over a 20 year period (Dwyer et al. 2016).


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Australia N Extant Yes
Indonesia N Extant Yes
Papua New Guinea N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Indonesia Pulau Kobroor
Australia Iron and McIlwraith Ranges
Australia Coastal Wet Tropics
Australia Daintree
Australia Paluma
Australia Wooroonooran
Papua New Guinea Lakekamu Basin

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland major resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Swamp suitable resident
Savanna Dry suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 1400 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Persecution/control Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Unintentional effects (species is not the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species mortality
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation
Climate change & severe weather Storms & flooding Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Past Impact
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Canis familiaris Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Past Impact
Stresses
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Problematic native species/diseases - Mycobacterium tuberculosis Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Species mortality
Natural system modifications Fire & fire suppression - Trend Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Past Impact
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Residential & commercial development Commercial & industrial areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Residential & commercial development Tourism & recreation areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Transportation & service corridors Roads & railroads Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Species mortality

Utilisation
Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - Non-trivial Recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Casuarius casuarius. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/10/2021.