A cassowary – a large, flightless bird native to Australia and Papua New Guinea – has killed its Florida owner when it attacked him after he fell.
The fire rescue department in Alachua county told the Gainesville Sun newspaper the cassowary killed the man on Friday on his property near Gainesville, in the north of the state, likely using its long claws.
The victim, whose name was not released, was apparently breeding the birds, state wildlife officials said.
“It looks like it was accidental. My understanding is that the gentleman was in the vicinity of the bird and at some point fell. When he fell, he was attacked,” the deputy chief, Jeff Taylor, told the newspaper.
Cassowaries are similar to emus. They can be up to 2 meters (6ft) tall and weigh up to 60kg (130lb), with black body feathers and bright blue heads and necks.
The San Diego zoo’s website calls cassowaries the world’s most dangerous bird with a 10cm dagger-like claw on each foot.
“The cassowary can slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick. Powerful legs help the cassowary run up to 31 miles per hour (50km/h) through the dense forest underbrush,” the website says.
Cassowaries are not raised for food in the US, but are sought after by collectors.
It is not clear what happened to the bird.
This article was first published by The Guardian on 14 Apr 2019.