Cassowaries are Gondwanan in origin and were concentrated in the small part of the super continent that later broke apart and became the present areas of Northern Australia, Papua New Guinea and some of the eastern island groups of Indonesia.
Two separate populations of Australian cassowary exist - one in the Wet Tropics area from Mt Halifax/Paluma through to Cooktown and the other on Cape York Peninsula in the McIlwraith and Iron Ranges, Jardine River area and the Eastern Dunes. The Australian cassowary is called the Southern Cassowary or sometimes the Double-wattled Cassowary. Once you realise that this species is also found in Papua New Guinea along with two more species and several subspecies, then it becomes clear why ours is called the Southern Cassowary.
A Cassowary is a solitary animal and when it is a sub-adult, it is banished from the home range of its father. The young animal wanders off to find its own future patch of habitat. It finds a part of the forest where it can coexist with the resident adult cassowaries and starts learning its way around.
This is a vulnerable time for the maturing Cassowary.
Dogs can easily chase it down and kill it; an adult Cassowary already resident in that forest can attack it and perhaps the young Cassowary may not be able to find sufficient food in a foreign area where it is disoriented.
Once the Cassowary has established its home range, it moves regularly through that range which can be quite large. Some of the Daintree animals have a home range of roughly 7 square km. The shape and area of the range changes depending on food and the annual breeding season (courting starts in May/June). Home ranges are not necessarily clearly defined and defended territories - they can overlap. Females tend to have overlapping ranges with several males.
On the Tablelands where the habitat is mainly rainforest, the ranges are larger. This increased range leads to fewer interactions between birds.
The female Cassowary has turned the tables on what is mostly a maternal social structure in the animal world. The males incubate the eggs and raise the chicks. Once a clutch of eggs is laid, the female will seek out other males with which to mate. For each male that she finds, she will provide a clutch of eggs (usually 3 to 5) for him to nurture.