Rhea Facts

Rhea Facts
Rhea is a member of the group of flightless birds. This is the largest bird in the South America. There are two species of rhea: Greater or American Rhea and Darwin's Rhea. They differ in size and in type of habitat they inhabit. Rhea can be found in open grasslands, pampas and woodlands of Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, Peru and Brazil. Rhea is also kept on farms because of its meat, eggs and skin. Number of rhea in the wild is decreased due to habitat loss, but they are still not listed as endangered species.
Interesting Rhea Facts:
American Rhea can reach 5 feet in height and weight of up to 55 pounds. Darwin's Rhea can reach 3 feet in height and 22 pounds in weight.
Body of rhea is covered with grey-brown plumage with dark patches on the neck and back. Abdomen and thighs are covered with white feathers.
Rhea has strong legs with three toes that are designed for running.
Rhea has large wings, but it is a flightless bird because it lacks breast bone which connects muscles required for flying.
Although it is unable to fly, rhea can run very fast and reach the speed of up to 40 miles per hour. Wings provide stability during running.
Rhea consumes both meat and plants (an omnivore). Different kind of seeds, fruits, roots, plants, lizards, insects, reptiles and rodents are normal part of rhea's diet.
Rheas also like to consume agricultural crops. Because of that, farmers often considered them as pests.
Rhea is a silent animal most of the time. During mating season males produce sounds that are similar to the roars of mammals.
During the winter, rheas gather in group composed of up to 50 animals of both sex. Group of rheas is called a "flock". They sometimes even combine with other, unrelated animals, such as deer or guanacos.
Rheas are polygamous animals which mean that males and females mate with more than one partner during the mating season.
Unlike other animals, males are fully responsible for building of the nest and care of the eggs and chicks after hatching.
Male can mate with between two and twelve females. He will build a nest in the ground where each female will deposit her eggs. Number of eggs can vary from 12 to 50, depending on the number of mating partners.
Male will keep the eggs warm throughout the whole incubation period that lasts 6 weeks. He also takes care of the chicks after hatching, keeping both female rheas and predators away.
Young rhea grows quickly and it reaches adult size in six months. However, it will not mate until it reaches the age of 2 to 3 years old.
Maximum lifespan of the rhea in the wild is 15 years.

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