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Dwarf Cassowary Casuarius bennetti

This species is classified as Near Threatened because it is declining moderately rapidly as a result of increasing hunting pressure and habitat degradation. However, recent information suggests that hunting may not be driving as significant a decline as was thought. If this is confirmed, the species may warrant downlisting to Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Distribution and population
Casuarius bennetti occurs in New Guinea (Papua, formerly Irian Jaya, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) and, presumably as a long-established introduction, on New Britain. It is judged to have a substantial population and to be declining more slowly than the other larger and more lowland cassowaries Casuarius spp.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as generally scarce, although locally common in north-eastern New Guinea (del Hoyo et al. 1992).

Trend justification
There are no data on population trends; however, the species is thought to be in decline, owing to habitat loss, degradation and hunting.

It is a forest species occurring into the mountains and occasionally to the treeline at 3,600 m. It possibly undertakes altitudinal migrations in some parts of its range (A. Mack in litt. 2012).

Although probably tolerant of moderate habitat degradation, logging opens up previously inaccessible areas to hunters, with hunting thought to be unsustainable in some parts of the species's range (Johnson et al. 2004). Road and airstrip construction similarly increases the penetration of the hunting market (A. Mack in litt. 2012). Predation by pigs and dogs may be a threat to this species, but this has not yet been quantified. Despite suffering from heavy hunting pressure, it remains relatively common over a wide altitudinal range (Coates 1985, Beehler et al. 1986, A. Mack in litt. 1999, B. Beehler in litt. 2000).

Conservation Actions Underway
None are known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor populations in protected areas. Quantify the effects of hunting, logging and predation by pigs and dogs. Promote community-based hunting restrictions, particularly regarding the use of guns. Research population dynamics. Prevent habitat clearance.

Beehler, B. M.; Pratt, T. K.; Zimmerman, D. A. 1986. Birds of New Guinea. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Coates, B. J. 1985. The birds of Papua New Guinea, 1: non-passerines. Dove, Alderley, Australia.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A.; Sargatal, J. 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Johnson, A.; Bino, R.; Igag, P. 2004. A preliminary evaluation of the sustainability of cassowary (Aves: Casuariidae) capture and trade in Papua New Guinea. Animal Conservation 7(2): 129-137.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A. & Khwaja, N.

Beehler, B., Mack, A. & Supuma, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Casuarius bennetti. Downloaded from on 07/10/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 07/10/2015.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Dwarf cassowary (Casuarius bennetti) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Casuariidae (Cassowaries, Emus)
Species name author Gould, 1857
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 359,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species