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an order of ratite birds comprising two families, the emu and the cassowary (Casuariidae). The cassowaries have a laterally compressed bill, a crown casque that protects them from thorns and burs, and naked, brightly colored areas on the neck. The plumage is black and hairlike, and the reduced wing feathers have been transformed into long, bare shafts that protect the body as the cassowary, neck extended, moves through dense thickets. Their legs are strong and tridac-tyl, and the inner toe has a long sharp claw with which the birds can inflict serious wounds. There are three species in the cassowary family, inhabiting the dense tropical forests of New Guinea, the islands of Aru, Ceram, and New Britain, and the northeastern coast of Australia. They feed on seeds, berries, and fallen fruit. The nest is a shallow depression on the floor of a forest glade. After the female has laid from three to five green eggs they are incubated and later reared by the male.