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Cassowaries



Cassowaries
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.96

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    frugivores, wattle, breed, mainly, cassowary, height, pounds, lays, northern, southern, swimmers, folds, several, ostrich, rainforest, male


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Cassowaries
By Sheri Skelton
  

1     The cassowary is a bird, but it doesn't fly. The cassowary's wings are tiny. Long quills hang from the tiny wings. The cassowary's body is covered with black feathers that look like hair from far away. The cassowary lives in the rainforest. Its feathers help keep the cassowary dry. The feathers also protect the cassowary from the sharp thorns on many rainforest plants.
 
2     Cassowaries are big birds. The southern cassowary is the largest kind of cassowary. It is the second heaviest bird in the world. Only the ostrich is heavier. The southern cassowary can weigh as much as 128 pounds. It can reach a height of five feet, six inches tall. The smallest type of cassowary is the dwarf cassowary. This dwarf is still a big bird. It can grow to three feet, six inches tall and weigh up to 39 pounds. The third kind of cassowary, the northern cassowary, is a little smaller than the southern cassowary.
 
3     All three kinds of cassowaries have casques on their heads. These casques look like helmets. Scientists think the casques may help protect the cassowary's head. Two kinds of cassowaries have wattles. Wattles are folds of skin hanging from the bird's neck. The southern cassowary has two bright red wattles. Its head and throat are bright blue. The northern cassowary has only one wattle. Its wattle and throat are either red or gold.

Paragraphs 4 to 6:
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