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Darica Cossowary 00975.jpg
Southern cassowary
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Casuariiformes
Family: Casuariidae
Kaup, 1847[1]
2-3 genera, 6-7 species

The bird family Casuariidae has four surviving members: the three species of cassowary and the emu.

All living members of the family are very large flightless birds native to Australia-New Guinea,[2] though the extinct potential member Hypselornis was native to India.[3] The characteristics of the family are those of its members.


Systematics and evolution[edit]

The fossil record of casuariforms is interesting, but not very extensive.

Some Australian fossils initially believed to be from emus were recognized to represent a distinct genus, Emuarius,[4] which had a cassowary-like skull and femur and an emu-like lower leg and foot.

A Pliocene Indian ratite, Hypselornis, has been classified as a casuariid based on its similarities to modern cassowaries and emus. However, no recent studies have been performed on these remains.


  1. ^ Brand, S. (2008)
  2. ^ Clements, J (2007)
  3. ^ Lowe, Percy Roycroft 1929. Some remarks on Hypselornis sivalensis Lydekker. Ibis. 71: (4) 571–576. (Journal Article)
  4. ^ From "Emu" + "Casuarius". Describer W. E. Boles commonly refers to the genus as "emuwaries" or "cassomus".


  • Boles, Walter E. (2001): A new emu (Dromaiinae) from the Late Oligocene Etadunna Formation. Emu 101: 317–321. HTML abstract
  • Brands, Sheila (14 August 2008). "Systema Naturae 2000 / Classification, Family Casuariidae". Project: The Taxonomicon. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
  • Clements, James (2007). The Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World (6 ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-4501-9.
  • Folch, A. (1992). Family Casuariidae (Cassowaries). pp. 90– 97 in; del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol 1, Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-87334-09-1

External links[edit]