Greater rhea

Related to ostriches and emus, this flightless bird is the largest bird in South America and uses its powerful legs to flee from danger. Like the ostrich, it cannot fly but uses its wings for balance and for changing direction quickly as it runs. 

Male rheas are solitary in the spring during the mating season, but in winter the birds will flock together in mixed social groups. They are often seen with other large animals, such as deer. 

Rhea eggs are collected for food and many people eat their meat too. Their skins are used in the manufacture of leather and their feathers used to make dusters. Hunting to supply this trade has thinned their numbers considerably, but both hunting and farming rhea has now been regulated in an attempt to lessen the impact on their numbers.  

Scientific name
Rhea americana
Family
Rheidae
Order
Rheiformes
Lifespan
Approx. 15 years
Conservation status
Near threatened