Latin name: Rhea americana
Weight: 20-25 kg
These birds are classified under the order of Ratites, together with ostriches, emus, cassowaries, kiwi birds and rhea. The ostrich can be up to 2,75 m tall, while Rhea only reaches 1,5 m. There is also a big difference in their weight.
Males are a somewhat larger than females and males´ feathers are also darker. In comparison to the before mentioned birds, the Rhea´s wings are the most evolved, but they can´t fly. They live in the Eastern and Southern areas of South America, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. They live in flocks of 20-30 individuals. They mostly live on vast open grassy areas, but we can also find them in half-deserts.
During the nesting period the male attracts the opposite sex and are collecting a harem of females. The females then lay eggs into the nest, which was built by the male. The female then hatches the eggs. The females produce around 5 eggs. Because the male can mate with 10 or more females, sometimes 50 or more eggs are hatched. During the spring the males live a life of recluse. During the winter they join into larger groups – sometimes even up to 100 animals.
Rhea birds are omnivores. They mostly feed with vegetable food, but they also eat bugs, frogs, lizards and other smaller animals. Rheas are an almost endangered species in the wild – they are being hunted for food. Our zoo keeps an Albino-Rhea. They are extremely rare – only a couple hundred are alive.