5 Interesting Facts About Lesser Rheas

Lesser Rhea

Here is a lesser rhea grazing in South America

Today I want to write about a really cool species of bird, the lesser rhea.

Here are five interesting facts about them:

  1. Also known as Darwin’s rhea, these large flightless birds grow up to 1 metre tall.
  2. They mostly eat grass and plants, and are often seen in small flocks grazing with llamas, guanacos and vicunas.  They also sometimes eat insects and other small animals.
  3. Lesser rheas are very fast runners, which helps them to escape predators such as pumas and foxes.
  4. At breeding time, the males mate with a few females who each lay their eggs in a nest that he has scraped in the ground.  He can get very aggressive when looking after the eggs, so females sometimes lay eggs outside of the nest and he rolls them into the nest with his beak.  He ends up incubating between 10-30 eggs and looks after the chicks by himself.  When the first chick hatches, it makes a call which encourages the other chicks to hatch as well.
  5. Lesser rheas are found in grasslands throughout Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru.  They are fairly common, but their numbers are dropping due to hunting, egg collecting and loss of habitat used for farming.

I hope that you found these facts interesting and learned something new.

Are there any other interesting facts that you would like to share about lesser rheas?

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