Scientific name: Rhea americana
This flightless bird is the biggest of the American continent. Its long, powerful legs and its toes make it perfectly fit for running and lengthy travels. The call of a greater rheas sounds more like roaring than chirping. It is mostly made by the male during mating season. The sound produced is the origin of its local name « ñandù ».
Did you know?
Only the male rhea builds the nest. It digs a hole one-meter in diameter and lines it with plants. A male can mate with several females that will all lay in the same nest, which can contain between 10 and 60 eggs! The male sits on the eggs and takes care of the young.
- Height: up to 4.6 feet (140 cm)
- Weight: between 44 and 55 pounds (20-25 kg)
- Incubation period: 35 to 40 days
- The eggs measure 5.1 in x 3.5 in (13 cm x 9 cm) and weigh 21 oz (600 g)
- Life expectancy: 10-11 years
Keep up hope
In Germany, 3 pairs escaped from a farm in 2000 and survived during the following winter. They were even able to breed in an environment that was similar to their natural habitat. In 2013, their population exceeded one hundred specimens. This ability to adapt allows projects of reintroducing greater rheas born in captivity to be pretty realistic.