Cassowary chick behaviour

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Cassowary chick behaviour
From: Sue & Phil Gregory <>
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2006 16:04:14 +1000
The male Cassowary here has two chicks, who were first brought in on Oct 27 2005 when just a few days old. They are now just starting to lose the stripes, and this afternoon were all all sitting down under some dense shrubs.. One chick was partially under dad's rear feather bustle as often occurs, but the other had climbed up onto his lower back and was sat there. Unfortunately he noticed something on dad's back and went to peck at it, slipping back to the ground before I could get a photo ( which would have been a challenge in the dull light anyway!) The big female Missy was briefly with the family this morning but then wandered away. A young male, coming into the full adult plumage is also around, but keeps spatially and temporally separated from the territorial male who was very likely his parent, and drives him off if they happen to overlap. Going into Cairns yesterday, my daughter spotted an adult male Cassowary with a small sloping casque sat down on the forest edge not 3m from the busy Kuranda Range Highway, just past the Cairns 20km sign near the water point signpost. He was just taking the air and watching the traffic, seeming quite relaxed. This area seems to be a regular part of his territory as we have seen him here at odd times over the past couple of years. Traffic is an immense hazard of course, particularly if he had chicks, but we could see no sign of any.
Phil Gregory
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