The greater rhea (Rhea americana) is a species of flightless bird native to eastern South America. Other names for the greater rhea include the grey, common, or American rhea; ema (Portuguese); or ñandú (Guaraní and Spanish). One of two species in the genus Rhea, in the family Rheidae, the greater rhea is native to Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. It inhabits a variety of open areas, such as grasslands, savanna or grassy wetlands. Weighing 20–27 kilograms (44–60 lb), the greater rhea is the largest bird in South America and the largest native, extant bird anywhere in the Americas. In the wild, the greater rhea has a life expectancy of 10.5 years. It is also notable for its reproductive habits, and for the fact that a population has established itself in Northern Germany in recent years. The species is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN.
The adults have an average weight of 20–27 kg (44–60 lb) and often measure 127 to 140 cm (50 to 55 in) long from beak to tail; they usually stand about 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) tall, with a typical range of 1.4 to 1.7 m (4 ft 7 in to 5 ft 7 in), to the top of the head. The males are generally bigger than the females. Despite the delineation of this species as the "greater rhea" versus the lesser rhea, some data on body masses indicates that both species average about 23 kg (51 lb) in weight, but even at mass parity that greater species appears larger and is taller due to its longer legs and neck, whereas the lesser rhea is more compact and more so resembles an outsized, long-necked turkey in build. Elsewhere, the lesser rhea has been cited with a lower average weight of 16 kg (35 lb). In some areas, male greater rheas weights of up to 35 kg (77 lb) are not uncommon and even females of up to 30 kg (66 lb) have been weighed, both weights higher than the maximum known mass for the lesser rhea. Large males can weigh 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.
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The Greater Rhea is related to the Ostrich and the Emu and is native to the South American countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
In the wild, they are often found in open grasslands feeding on broad-leaved plants and grasses. They also feed on fruit, seeds, roots and insects.
15 years in the wild.
They are flightless birds with males able reach 170cm tall to the head and weighing up to 40Kg. They have grey/brown plumage, long neck, strong powerful legs and have large wings for a flightless bird.