Cassowaries are the only genus of large flightless birds of the family of casuarous cassowaries, which live in the tropical forests of New Guinea and the north-east of Australia. The name of the bird is borrowed from the Indonesian language and comes from the Papuan kasu weri, which in translation means “horned head”.
Cassowaries live in the tropical forests of New Guinea and the north-east of Australia. The areas of all three species overlap partially, but cassowaries of different species avoid meetings, preferring to settle at different heights (the range of heights available to the cassowaries is quite large: in New Guinea they met at an altitude of 2 thousand meters above sea level and above). Thus, orange-orange cassowary dwells mainly in low-lying forests, helmet cassowary – at medium altitudes, and murok – in mountain forests (however, in those areas where no other species are found, the mura can descend to sea level altitude).
In Australia, the cassowaries lived presumably already in the Pleistocene. Currently, the helmeted cassowary lives only on the peninsula of Cape York in northern Queensland. However, even here the cassowaries are exclusively forest dwellers; The fact that they are sometimes met in the fields is due to deforestation, which leads to the fact that cassowaries are forced to cross open spaces.
In addition, cassowaries live on some islands near New Guinea: helmet cassowary – on the islands of Seram and Aru, murok – on the islands of Yapen and New Britain, and orange-orange cassowary – on the islands of Yapen and Salavati. However, it is not clear whether the cassowaries lived there initially, or whether the current distribution is the result of the sale of a young bird in New Guinea.