South America (Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina)
Οmnivorous. Leaves from various plants, seed, roots and fruit, insects (grasshoppers), small vertebrates (lizards, frogs) , small birds, some snakes and even fish (in Brazil)
Habitat: open land with tall vegetation.
Incubation: 35-40 days(by the male) / 5-10 chicks per female.
Social structure: During spring, male rheas are solitary, females form into small groups and yearlings form a flock until they are 2 years old. At the end of summer (end of breeding season) all (males, females, young) come together to form large flocks of 30 or even 100 individuals for the winter months.
Weight: 20-25+ kg., male heavier than female (it can reach up to 40 kg).
Dimensions: 1.22-1.44 m.
Lifespan: 13-15 years in the wild, up 30 in human care.
Threats: hunting for meat and skin, habitat loss due to conversion for agriculture and cattle ranching, egg collection.
IUCN status: Near Threatened.
Estimated population in the wild: Unknown, Uncommon-Fairly common, Trend: Decreasing.
Did you know that:
- Male Rheas are the ones who incubate the eggs and rear the young for about 6 months.
- Multiple females lay their eggs in a single clutch and that’s where their male incubates them. In a single clutch one can find up to 30 (or even 80) eggs from up to 12 different mothers!
- Males may adopt chicks that become separated from other groups.