The rheas are ratites (flightless birds with unkeeled sterna) in the genus Rhea, native to South America.
Rheas have many uses in South America. Feathers are used for feather dusters, skins are used for cloaks or leather, and their meat is a staple to many people. The Rhea is pictured on the coinage of Argentina's 1 Centavo coin minted in 1987.
Distribution and habitat
Rheas are from South America only and are limited within the continent to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. They are grassland birds and both species prefer open land. The Greater Rhea live in open grasslands, pampas, and chaco woodlands. They prefer to breed near water and prefer lowlands, seldom going above 1,500 metres (4,900 ft). On the other hand, the Lesser Rhea will utilize most shrubland, grassland, even desert salt puna up to 4,500 metres (14,800 ft).
- Rhea meat is extremely low fat -
- Rheas only have three toes, unusual amongst birds
- The male rhea incubates the eggs in a crude nest on the ground
- One male may incubate up to 60 eggs from many females
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