Rabu, 18 April 2018

Largest Living Bird: Greater Rhea

Greater Rhea (Rhea americana) also known as ñandú (Guaraní and Spanish). - Photo by: Rufus46

Greater Rhea (Rhea Americana) is another “largest birds that still live today” also in the group of flightless birds. Greater Rhea lives in the eastern part of Southern America native to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Just like its cousin, the ostrich, greater rhea lives in open areas such as grasslands, savannah or grassy wetlands. There’s a group of this bird established itself in Germany since 2000 with growing population.

Growing so big makes it harder for greater rhea to be able to fly. The average weight for an adult bird can achieve 20–27 kg (44–60 lb), while stand at 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) to top of its head. The size also is bigger for the male bird compared to the females. The size of males can reach up to 40 kg (88 lb), stand nearly 1.83 m (6.0 ft) tall and measure over 150 cm (59 in) long, although this is uncommon.

Greater rhea with its fluffy feathers. - Photo by: parcanimalierdauvergne.fr

Greate rhea's foot is strong for running. - Photo by: jungledragon.com 

Same as other flightless birds such as ostriches and emus, they mostly rely on their legs to run away from predators (when being threatens). Their wings are useless for flights, but will work as balancer when they are changing direction during their run. Same as any other bigger birds, greater rhea has stronger legs that can be used as a weapon instead just for running.

Even though their diet mostly consists of plants, fruits and seeds, this bird also enjoys meals of insects, lizards, birds and other small animals. It is easier for this bird to adapt itself as they don’t have any trouble to find their food. That also explained how their population grows rapidly in their new territory in German.

Greater rheas, chasing each other. - Photo by: knowsleysafariexperience.co.uk

Male greater rhea nursing its eggs during the incubation process. - Photo by: Ralph Bower

Greater rhea is a solitary bird until the mating seasons. While the males are polygynous, the females at the same time are polyandrous. Few females will lay their eggs in the same nest prepared by the male; with the total of eggs can reach up to 50 eggs or more. Other special characters of this bird are the males will incubate the eggs and also taken care of their young.

Rhea eggs were collected by human and their meat also were eaten. Instead of that, rhea’s skin also been used to produce leather products. Their population was threatened by human, until the regulations, safe this bird from totally perished.

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