Make a paper plate cassowary with our latest printable template.
Cassowaries hide out in the Daintree Rainforest in Tropical North Queensland, Australia. This is an extra special animal craft because these big birds are beautiful, rare and just not celebrated enough.
Two weeks ago our family was enjoying a road trip adventure in Tropical North Queensland. We saw turtles, fish, bush turkeys and several huge salt water crocs. We also hoped against hope that we’d see a wild Cassowary on one of the rainforest walks we did.
Cassowaries are pretty amazing. They have a fearsome reputation because they have been known to attack humans with their sharp claws if they feel threatened, or if they think one of their chicks is being threatened. Usually they are pretty shy though, so attacks are rare and for the most part unlikely (just don’t be silly enough to approach one of these birds or one of their chicks!).
We were very lucky because we did end up seeing a father cassowary and his chick crossing the road whilst driving through the Daintree, and my husband and daughter also saw one dash across the South Mission Beach caravan park we were staying at – lucky things! Adam managed to get this pic of it running off into the distance.
Before we get started on the craft, here are a few interesting Cassowary facts to share with the kids while you make it…
Cool Cassowary facts for kids:
- At up to 2m tall, they’re the third tallest and second heaviest bird in the world, with only the Ostrich being both taller and heavier (the emu is the other taller bird).
- They can run at speeds of up to 50km/h (that’s 31 m/h), but they can’t fly at all
- The red dangly piece on their neck is called a Wattle
- The rounded horn on their heads is called a casque, and is slightly different in look, size and shape for all cassowaries
- The female is the larger and more colourful of the species, weighing in at more than double the size of the male (85kg to his typical 40kg)
- Once the mother cassowary lays some eggs, she’s done with her part of child-rearing. The male cassowary alone sits on the eggs to keep them warm, then looks after the babies whilst they are young and vulnerable
- Cassowaries are a threatened species, with only an estimated 2,200 left in the wild in North Queensland from Townsville up to to Cooktown, so they need our protection
And now let’s get started on the craft!
How to make a paper plate cassowary
You will need
- The printable template (also available from our TPT store)
- Card stock in blue, grey or brown, and red
- Paper plate in “side plate” size (17cm).
- Glue stick
- Paint in black and white
- Paintbrush and an old toothbrush to add texture
Print the template out. For the all-in-one template you will need to staple the shapes to the appropriate colour of card stock and cut them out. For the classroom set print directly to the colour listed on the colour key, then cut the shapes out.
Cut your paper plate in half
Paint the plate black, then while the black paint is still wet use a toothbrush (an old one you no longer need works great) to brush white on top of it to get the feather textured look.
Glue the legs and neck onto the back of the plate
Turn over and glue the beak, horn and red wattle onto the front and draw and eye with a black sharpie
If you like you can even cut out some rainforest leaves from paper to make your cassowaries feel more at home.
You can get the template here
More Australian animal crafts for kids:
- Make a cockatoo pencil tin from a recycled tin can
- These cardboard tube frilled neck lizards are easier to make than they look
- We have a printable mother koala card with a baby in her pouch
- Here is a simple printable koala mask