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The Eyes Have It

Behold the Cassowary. I am so in love with this face. One can never have too much texture, and I LOVE drawing texture. This one took forever. The most common, the Southern Cassowary, is the third-tallest and second-heaviest living bird, smaller only than the ostrich and emu.

But what sucks me in is this helmet thingie atop his head.

The "helmet" is call a casque. No one knows for certain why cassowaries have one. According to experts at the San Diego Zoo, it could reveal a bird's age or dominance, or be used as a sort of helmet or shock absorber that protects the bird's head as it pushes through the rainforest underbrush. The casque could also work much like a hornbill's casque does in helping the bird make sounds. Others suggest that it serves to help regulate its temperature by discharging heat. But perhaps even more striking is the size of its legs! Cassowary feet have three toes each with claws on the end. The feet are at the bottom of long legs that bring some cassowary species to a height of nearly six feet tall. Cassowaries can run up to 31 miles per hour (50 km) and jump seven feet in the air from a standstill.

Powerful legs help the cassowary run that fast through a dense forest, and they are good swimmers. They fend off threats and escape danger by outrunning them. These birds are also known to be slightly aggressive and dangerous to humans. They're not afraid to use their claws either and are described as “unpredictable.” When facing trouble a cassowary will claw and kick at potential threats, which has led to multiple human casualties. Click the SHOP link in the menu above to buy cards with this handsome mug on it!


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