Critter Science

The Science of Animals

rhea bird

Meet the Speedy Rhea Bird

Similar to the ostrich and the emu, the rhea bird is a large flightless bird with a long neck. And no… they too do not bury their heads in the sand, like the myth states about the ostrich. There are 2 known species of rhea birds: the Greater, aka American Rhea, and the Darwin’s Rhea. These birds reside in South America.

First the Stats…

Scientific name: Rhea
Weight: Up to 55 lbs.
Length: Up to 5.5 feet tall
Lifespan: Up to 11 years

Now on to the Facts!

1.) Like other flightless birds, the rhea lacks a breast bone which connects the muscles required for flying.

2.) These birds are omnivores (eat plant and animal matter) that eat fruit, seeds, plants, roots, small reptiles, insects, and rodents.

3.) They are considered a pest by farmers, as they can also consume agricultural products.

4.) During winter, they congregate in flocks of up to 50 strong!

5.) Rheas are polygamous (males mate with more than 1 female). Males have been documented mating with 2 – 12 females! Busy bird.

But wait, there’s more on the rhea bird!

6.) The males are primarily responsible for building the nest.

7.) During the mating season, these typically silent birds are capable of making sounds that resemble the roars of mammals.

Did you know…?
The rhea may not be able to fly, but they can certainly run fast. They’ve been recorded at 40 mph!

8.) Females lay between 12 – 50 eggs, due to how many males she’s mated with.

Now a Short Rhea Bird Video!

Learn more about all kinds of cool critters here.

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Critter Man

With over 40 years of critter experience to my credit and hundreds of zoology teaching hours to people around the world, I have amassed not only a continuing thirst for critter knowledge but a desire to teach others all I can about the majesty and wonder of our natural world. Critter Science is a culmination of such knowledge.I have hands on as well as book acquired intel on all kinds of critters. Whether they're on land, sea, or air.I will never say that I know everything about all animals. That's impossible, even for a savant. But, that being said, ask me any animal question and I'll answer it. If I don't know the answer, I'll get an answer for you!Let it be said that I have been oft times accused of loving animals more than I love people. I can neither confirm nor deny this.

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