Large exotic bird kills an Alachua County man

Deputies: Large bird attacked, killed its owner

Deputies: Large bird attacked, killed its owner

A 75-year-old man has been killed in Florida after he was attacked by a large flightless bird he owned.

A cassowary, a giant bird with long claws on each foot, killed its owner after he fell in the backyard of his Gainesville, Florida, home, officials told CNN.

"It looks like it was accidental", deputy chief Jeff Taylor told the Gainesville Sun newspaper.

Upon being called to the scene on Friday, rescues rushed Hajos to the hospital but he could not be saved and succumbed to his injuries shortly after.

For the time being it has been secluded on a private property, according to the sheriff office's spokesman Lt. Brett Rhodenizer, who called the clash between the man and the bird a "tragic accident".

Cassowaries are similar to emus and stand up to 1.8 metres tall and weigh up to 60 kilograms, with black body feathers and bright blue heads and necks.

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According to the San Diego Zoo's website, cassowaries are the world's most risky bird, boasting a four-inch claw on each foot. "Powerful legs help the cassowary run up to 31 miles per hour (50 kph) through the dense forest underbrush", AP quoted the website as explaining.

The organisation says: "The cassowary can slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick".

According to initial reports, the man was breeding the birds, which are usually found in Australia and New Guinea. The birds are sought after in the United States by collectors of exotic birds.

A spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said that to own a cassowary, owners should have "substantial experience" and meet specific cage requirements.

The southern cassowary is considered endangered under Australia law and "vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

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