The Greater Rhea

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Quick Facts about the The Greater Rhea

The Greater Rhea (Rhea americana) is a large bird in the ratite order and native to South America. They are the second largest living bird after their cousin, the Ostrich. The Greater Rhea grows to be about three feet tall and can weight up to 150 pounds. They are known for their long necks and legs, which give them an appearance similar to Ostriches or Emus.

The Greater Rhea’s diet consists of leaves, grasses, fruits, seeds, and insects found on the ground that they eat while standing upright like a human being would. Due to this unusual feeding strategy, it has been theorized by some scientists that their ancestors were flightless birds who developed bipedal locomotion before evolving into the modern Greater Rheas.

The Greater Rhea is well adapted to living in expansive open habitats with few trees and are excellent runners. They can achieve speeds of 40 miles per hour running away from predators. When confronted by a predator Greater Rheas have been known to fight back by kicking or pecking their attacker.

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