The Cassowary

Which bird is considered the world's most dangerous to humans, due to its sharp dagger-like claws?

And the answer: Cassowary.  

Photo credit: Photo by Gilles Rolland-Monnett on

Native to Northern Australia, New Guinea, and surrounding islands, the cassowary is a large bird, comparable in size to an emu. Cassowaries are shy and like to keep to themselves, but if provoked by humans, they're known to use their 10-centimeter claws to defend themselves.

This living dinosaur is not a force to be reckoned with. Standing as high as six feet tall and weighing as much as 160 pounds, these large birds make up for their inability to fly with extremely powerful legs. Cassowaries can travel at great speeds over both land and water. In fact, cassowaries have been clocked running as fast as 31 miles per hour through the rainforest.

Cassowaries' powerful legs endow them with intense jumping capabilities: these birds can hop and strike up to 7 feet in the air. And, with 4 inches of claws on each toe, you wouldn't want to be anywhere near one of these when it catches air.

Luckily, cassowaries mainly enjoy fallen fruit, insects, snails, and fungi. As naturally shy creatures, they usually do their best to stay out of sight and trouble. However, the cassowary has quite a distinctive look. With its black iridescent feathered body, its blue, turquoise and magenta neck, and horned crest or casque, it's been described as looking like a "high-fashion dinosaur."

The chances of an attack from the "world's most dangerous bird" remain low – if sighted, this dinosaur-like bird will more likely disappear into the forest. Learn more about these magnificent creatures below.

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