- FamilyRheas (Rheidae)
- Weight15 – 25 kg
- HabitatOpen landscape, open scrub in grasslands, near water
The Darwin’s rhea has excellent eyesight. If a predator is spotted, it will make a hasty escape, fleeing in a zig-zag sprint in an attempt to confuse its pursuer. With a top speed of 60 km/h, it can easily outrun its predators. Should it run out of steam, it will squat down in the bushes, and flattening its body against the ground, where it remains unnoticed thanks to its camouflage plumage.
During the mating season, each male defends its own territory and tries to attract a harem of females by calling. The booming call is accompanied by the ruffling of feathers and other courtship gestures to woo two or more females. After mating, the male builds a nest, in which the hens lay their eggs in turn. Eggs are deposited every two to three days for up to two weeks. Only the male incubates the eggs.
Darwin’s rheas often join other wild herbivores when foraging for food. When danger is sensed, they warn each other.