Diggin’ Their New YardCassowaries Now on Exhibit

May 19, 2015

Hallager and Elgie, the Zoo’s pair of two-year-old cassowaries, were recently moved into a new exhibit in Asia – Trail of the Tiger. Hallager was the first cassowary chick to hatch at the Zoo. In fact, he was the fifth cassowary chick to successfully hatch at an accredited zoo in the past decade – he’s quite special! Hallager and Elgie are a breeding pair, but it will be several years before they are mature enough to breed.

The scoop on cassowaries:

  • Cassowaries are flightless birds native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and N. Australia.
  • They are one of the largest species of birds, only slightly smaller than ostrich and emu. Female cassowaries are generally larger and more brightly colored than males.
  • They feed mainly on fruit, though they are omnivorous and also eat various plant shoots, seeds, insects, and small reptiles and mammals.
  • The casque, or helmet, on top of a cassowary’s head is made up of a spongy material and covered in keratin – the same thing that makes up human fingernails.
  • Male cassowaries care for their young without any assistance from the females once the eggs are laid. The male incubates the eggs for 60 days and then raises the chicks until they’re about ten months of age.
  • Friday, May 1 at 10:00 am Zoo staff will unveil the cassowary exhibit.