Bookmarkable URL:http://hdl.handle.net/10217/54479

Scientific Classification

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Struthioniformes
Family:Rheidae
Genus:Rhea
Genus species:Rhea americana

Animal Characteristics

Head-Body Length:152 cm
Weight:23 kg
Identification:Greater rheas resemble ostriches, but they have softer body plumage, longer wings, and they lack tail plumes. Their thighs, head, and neck are covered in brown feathers; their wing feathers are white-tipped.
Habitat:Open country with some tall vegetation
Diet:Omnivore: broad-leafed plants, clovers, seeds, roots, insects, small vertebrates
Reproduction:Greater rheas breed between the months of August and January. The males build the nests by digging shallow holes and surrounding them with twigs. The females then lay one egg in the nest every other day for 7-10 days. Incubation and caring for the chicks is done by the male, who may have as many as 18 chicks under his watch.
Both males and females are solitary outside of the breeding season. During mating, they gather in groups of 20-30 individuals.
Status:No special status
Interesting Facts:Greater rheas are the largest bird species in South America. They cannot fly. Populations are declining due to an increasing demand for rhea meat, skin, and feathers; habitat destruction is another cause for the decreasing population. When given a fresh start, rheas can easily outdistance a horse.

Other Information

Geographic:Eastern South America Date:1976-05 Subjects:flightless land bird
Greater rhea
Common rhea
Gray rhea
Rhea (Genus)
Rheidae
Rheiformes
Ratites
Birds
Vertebrates
Chordata