Rheiformes – Rheas

The Greater rhea is the largest of all South American birds

Like the African cousins of the Struthioniformes order, Rheiformes are flightless birds and strong runners. Depending on which authority you ask, there are either two or three species of rheas – the Greater Rhea, the Lesser Rhea (Rhea pennata) and/or the Puna Rhea (Rhea tarapacensis).

Rheas have a fairly broad diet comprising leaves, fruits, seeds, insects, fish, rodents, reptiles, and small birds. They have an interesting nesting structure, with females depositing eggs for males to look after. Popular males even engage younger males to look after their eggs.

Rheas are farmed for their skin, meat, feathers, and eggs.