Rhea is a nonflying bird that lives in South America.
Outwardly, it looks like an African ostrich. Despite this similarity, these ostriches are very distant relatives of the rhea-like. American Rhea is much smaller than its African ancestor and not so shy. Europeans first got acquainted with these birds in the 16th century. They were described by Pedro Cieza de León, a Spanish priest, and traveler. The first description of the ostrich appeared in his book “The Chronicles of Peru”. There are other fun facts about rhea.
Like ostriches, rhea can be bred on farms. It is done not only in South America. The Rhea farm was in Germany. Once, several birds ran away from it. They liked the climate in Germany, and they began to breed in natural conditions. Now their population has reached several hundred. They are trying to control it but to no avail. We have collected fun facts about rhea for you.
7 facts about rhea
- There are claws on the wings. These birds fight for the female and intimidate raptors.
- Rhea very well feels the danger. Therefore, near them often graze less sensitive pampas deer. When the ostrich rhea sees a predator, the whole herd runs away.
- During the breeding period, they are very aggressive. They are ready to fight with the first person they meet. Farmers are afraid to go into the field, and they have to bring a pack of dogs.
- Surprisingly, at the rest of the time, birds are passive and even phlegmatic. They allow a person to get closer if he does not show aggression. At this time, you can try to tame the birds.
- Hatching eggs is the duty of males. They can steal eggs from other nests and are ready to raise any chick, regardless of whether it is his offspring or not.
- They are unpretentious in food, so they eat everything they see. They eat vegetation in the fields, catch insects, hunt small reptiles. There are rumors that they hunt poisonous snakes, but there is no confirmation of this.
- During the race, they can catch up with, or even overtake the car. It is not surprising, because one step for this bird is two meters.
Top 3 fun facts about rhea
- When Charles Darwin arrived in Patagonia, he set out to find a small rhea, which even in those days was a rare bird. He did not succeed, but he was able to get some bones. According to these bones, Darwin concluded that the bird is a separate subspecies, which appeared separately from the ordinary species.
- Rhea is grown in captivity and then released into the wild. Before birds leave, they are taught to recognize raptors, because captive-bred birds are not afraid of anything.
- Males do not constantly hatch their eggs. Sometimes, they manage to find a young specimen ready to replace the male in the nest. Then, the Rhea Dad leaves and builds a new nest, where he has to hatch eggs again.
Natural enemies and the Rhea population
Few people would dare to attack an adult rhea. Only cougars and jaguars can attack and catch up with this ostrich. Young birds can be attacked even by stray dogs, to say nothing of larger predators. Eggs – a tidbit for an armadillo. All these animals cause significant damage to the population, but their numbers do not fall from it.
The birds also do not suffer much from humans. The main threat for them are farmers who consider them pests. Even space exploration does not cause them any tangible damage yet. For all economic needs, birds are grown on farms. Eggs and meat are used as food; brooms and mats are made from feathers. Eggs shells go to handicrafts and decorations.
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