Greater Rhea is The Heaviest Bird in The World

Greater Rhea is The Heaviest Bird in The World

Greater Rhea is The Heaviest Bird in The World which are flightless bird that is also known as Rhea Americana. They are mostly found in South America. It is also the largest bird in the state of South America. Generally, the male’s greater rheas are bigger than the females. But there are no great differences in height and weight between these two. The weight of adults is between 20-27 kg and often measures a length of around 50 to 55 in from beak to tail. But young greater rheas have different heights and weights as they grow and develop at faster speeds.

Greater Rhea is The Heaviest Bird in The World
Greater Rhea is The Heaviest Bird in The World

What do greater rheas look like?

Greater rheas have gray or brown colors and silky feathers that give a tattered look. Each feather of this bird has its variation. The head and neck of these birds are also covered with brownish-gray colored feathers. While the anterior and dorsal parts of the body have black-colored feathers. It has an ovular shape with a projecting neck.

Greater Rhea:

Greater Rhea has a small head and beak. They have long legs that are yellowish-brown in color. There are three toes on each claw but the hind toe is not present. They have long wings but can fly. They use their wings in courtship displays and also maintain balance during running.

Where do greater rheas live?

What is the geographical range of greater rheas?

Mostly they are native to South America. They are found in Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. Some species are also native to Germany. They mainly prefer those areas that are present at lower elevations. Sometimes, they will go above an elevation of 1200 m but it occurs rarely.

What is the habitat of greater rheas?

Greater rheas are mainly likely to live in habitats such as low-vegetation grassland, woodland, scrublands, and wetlands. They are mostly found in treeless areas of South America. They mainly prefer to live in grasslands and woodlands habitats during non-breeding season. During this period, they lived in the form of flocks. Whereas, the males are less careful. They also move toward the agricultural developed areas due to the loss of their wild habitat.

During the breeding season, they isolated themselves from the flock. They prefer to live in those habitats that are closer to water bodies. They also select these areas due to the availability of food and other good visibility. Greater rheas mostly breed in wet habitats. They make their nests in those areas that contain a lot of vegetation. There are great sources of their protection. The only male is involved in the selection and building of a nest. They make their nests close to each other.

What do greater rheas eat?

Greater rheas are omnivores naturally; meaning they eat both plants and animals in their diet. They mostly depend on plants for their diet. They like to eat both the wild and cultivated plants as food. They also eat small animals instead of plants. They only eat these animals at the time when they cannot get enough plants to eat. Sometimes, they are also found to ingest small stones in their diet.

What do they eat in plants?

Greater rheas enjoy eating plants in their diets. These plants make up 99% of their diet. They like to eat both plants wild and cultivated. They also eat the seeds of these plants. They mainly eat the broad-leaved foliage in their diet. They mainly feed Lamiaceae, Bignoniaceae, Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, Myrtaceae, and others in their diet.

They also enjoy eating spiny vegetables like thistles and tubers. They are also found to eat the leaves of grass species in large numbers including Brach aria and Brizantha.  They are also known as helpful species for the farmers. Mostly, they do not like to eat the plants through fields and plantations such as cereals and eucalyptus.

What do they eat in animals?

Greater rheas also eat animals in their diet. The young birds of that species like to eat animals more than their adults. They will eat large invertebrates in their diet. Their food mainly consists the grasshoppers, cockroaches, true bugs, locusts, and other pest insects. They also eat some vertebrates like small birds, snakes, and small fish in their diet.

They like to eat insects in large quantities in their food. These birds can eat Hymenoptera in large numbers. They also eat those insects in their diet that give them painful stings. But, they do not get the mind to eat them. Sometimes, they are also seen eating dead animals in their diet.

These animals only make up one percent of their diet. They mainly depend on the plants for their diet. These birds are also known as coprophagous, which means they also excreate other birds. Sometimes, they will consume the excrement matter of other rheas birds. But, the drug beetles are well-known coprophagous insects in the world.

Why do greater rheas eat pebbles?

Greater rheas eat many tough plant matters in their diet like other birds. They need something that helps them in the digestion of such kind of food. Therefore, they are mostly found to eat small stones as their diet. These pebbles help them in grinding tough foods. They are mostly eating sparkling objects for this purpose. Sometimes, they are also eating metallic or glossy objects to grind their foods.

How do greater rheas breed?

Greater rheas breed seasonally, as their breeding season starts in July and ends in January. These birds are polygynandric. The males of greater rheas are polygynous, meaning they can mate with more than one female. Females are also polyandrous, which means they can mate with more than one male. She mates with a male normally deposits their eggs with the male and leaves him to mate with another male.

How they are mating?

Before the breeding, greater rheas live in the form of flocks. But, as the winter comes they begin to breed. The large flocks are broken up into single males, a small flock of two to fifteen females, and a large flock of yearning. Males start to show aggression towards each other. They begin to attract females by raising the front of their body and also keeping their necks straight. They also start calling and raising their wings.

They will continue to attract the female with their specific styles. Sometimes, they also start walking with their partner while lowering their head and spreading their wings. Once, the male succeeds in attracting her mate and starts mating with her. After mating, the male will go to the nest and cannot move any other where.

How do greater rheas build their nests?

Greater rheas build their nests in the ground that are simple and wide in range. They also put grass and leaves inside the nest to make it soft. They also keep their nests hidden from the wood, grass, and other leaves to avoid any predators from attacking.

How many eggs a female greater rhea lays?

When the mating process is complete, the rheas disperse and start to feed. Female greater rheas start to lay eggs around 25 days after the mating. Normally a female can lay about 20 to 40 eggs per season. Where the nest can contain up to 30 eggs. The weight and size of these eggs depend on the temperature and humidity.

What do the eggs look like?

The eggs of greater rheas have a size half of an ostrich egg. The nest is used by several females and contains about 80 eggs laid by a dozen females. Each female has 5-10 eggs. The color of the shell of these eggs is greenish-yellow when it is fresh. But, when it is exposed to light it fades to dull cream.

How greater do rheas incubate their eggs?

When the eggs are to be laid, the female deposits their eggs with the male before leaving him and wanting to mate with another male. While the male stays in the nest to care for the offspring. The males start to incubate eggs after five to eight days of laying eggs. The incubating period of these eggs is between 29 to 43 days. Only males are included in the incubating process.

Hatching of chicks

After completing the incubation period, the eggs start to hatch. All the eggs hatch within 36 hours of each other. The males spend around 97% of their time caring for the chicks. The chicks of greater rhea grow very quickly. They become able to fledge at the age of four months. They reach their full size at six months. The males take care of their chicks until they become independent. The young one starts breeding at the age of two years and joins groups of adult rheas.

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