Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Greater Rhea
Greater Rhea
Common Name Grey Rhea, Common Rhea or American Rhea
Range Eastern South America
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Rheiformes
Family Rheidae
Genus Rhea
Species Rhea americana
Conservation Status
Near Threatened

The Greater Rhea (Rhea Americana) is a species from the Rhea genus. They are found in eastern South America.


Greater Rheas have a fluffy, tattered-looking plumage. The feathers are gray or brown, with high individual variation, In general, males are darker than females. Even in the wild—particularly in Argentina—leucistic individuals (with white body plumage and blue eyes) as well as albinos occur. Hatchling Greater Rheas are grey with dark lengthwise stripes.


Like many birds which feed on tough plant matter, the Greater Rhea swallows pebbles which help grind down the food for easy digestion. It is much attracted to sparkling objects and sometimes accidentally swallows metallic or glossy objects.


It will eat any large invertebrate it can catch; its food includes locusts and grasshoppers, true bugs, cockroaches, and other pest insects.


Greater Rheas breed in the warmer months, between August and January depending on the climate. The incubation period is 29–43 days. All the eggs hatch within 36 hours of each other even though the eggs in one nest were laid perhaps as much as two weeks apart. In the wild, the Greater Rhea has a life expectancy of 15 years.



  • As the largest bird in South America, the flightless greater rhea stands at about 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall.