Greater Rhea Rhea americana

  • Order: Rheiformes
  • Family: Rheidae
  • Polytypic: 5 subspecies
  • Authors: C. Hodes

Greater Rhea is South America’s largest bird. It is flightless, with a smaller relative, Lesser Rhea (Rhea pennata), restricted to Patagonia and the Andes. As in all ratites, the males of Greater Rhea incubate and raise the young. Males mate with several females, all of which lay eggs in a common nest. This mixed clutch can be sizable. It is not uncommon to see a male caring for twenty or more striped young. The Greater Rhea is found in grasslands, savanna or grassy wetlands in southern South America. Much of their habitat also is used for ranching, but more and more of it is becoming cropland which may be reducing available habitat for the rhea. Furthermore fencing is a problem and can affect the movements of the rhea; this species does not jump over fences, although it can go underneath them.


© Márcio Repenning

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Hodes, C. (2010). Greater Rhea (Rhea americana), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.