Cassowary vs Emu
Both emu and cassowary are ratite birds, i.e. they are flightless birds with large and heavyweight bodies. Both of them have unique distribution patterns, despite their similarities in physical characteristics. In addition, they both belong to the family casuariidae. However, there are good enough differences between cassowaries and emus, of which the most important and interesting distinctions are discussed in this article.
Cassowaries are flightless birds native to Northeastern Australia and tropical forests of New Guinea, and there are three species of them in one genus, Casuarius. Adding to the marvel of the fauna of Australia and Oceania, females have become larger than males and most importantly brighter than male cassowary birds. Their feathers consist of a shaft and loose barbules, but they do not have tail feathers. In cassowary feet, there are three toes with sharp claws. There is a large red wattle and the prominent horn-like casque on the head is very attractive. Their casque is soft and spongy, and it is a secondary sexual characteristic. Their neck feathers are bright blue in colour and become light bluish-green towards the head. Cassowaries are omnivores and eat plant parts and small invertebrates. They are usually shy but in an excited state, they can even physically hurt people. They are solitary birds and get together only for mating. Females lay three to eight big dark bright green or pale blue eggs, but males incubate eggs and take care of chicks. They live a long life around 40 – 50 years in wild.
Emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae, is the largest bird native to Australia. They range all over the Australian mainland and the only surviving member of the particular genus. They are brown coloured flightless birds with white patches on the plumage and their feathers are very soft. Emus can run long distances at a higher speed, and sometimes it can go up to 50 kilometers per hour. They can run fast because they are gifted with strong adapted legs. Emus are omnivorous birds and they can survive without food for several weeks. Interestingly, they eat metals, glass shards, and stones to help the food to squash inside their digestive system. They can swim but consume very little amount of water. They can tolerate wide range of temperatures and scientists believe that is one of the reasons for them to be able to survive on the Earth. Usually, emu males and females are similar in size and appearance. However, emus live about 10 – 20 years in wild.
What is the difference between Cassowary and Emu?
• Emu is larger and heavier than cassowary.
• Emu is a single species, while there are three species of cassowaries.
• Cassowary has an attractive and prominent casque on the head, but not on emu.
• Cassowary has a large red wattle, but not on emu.
• Face and neck of cassowary are more colourful and contrasting than emu’s.
• Emu has a long neck compared to cassowary.
• Cassowary has keratinized black feathers covering its body, whereas emu has soft brown plumage with white patches.
• Emu is native to Australian mainland, but cassowaries range in Australia and associated islands.