Zoo Boise Logo
HOURS: Open 10am - 5pm
PHONE: (208) 608-7760

Greater Rhea

CONSERVATION STATUS : NEAR THREATENED
COMMON EXTINCT
Classification:

Order: Struthioniformes
Genus & Species: Rhea americana
Family: Rheidae

Status:

Listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.

Range:

Southeastern part of South America (Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina) up to elevations of 4,000 feet.

Habitat:

Open steppe-grassland (pampas), dense grassland (campos), sparse woodlands (cerrado), dry desert scrubland (chaco), and cultivated fields where taller grasses and other vegetation are present. During the breeding season, they stay near rivers, lakes, or marshes.

Activity:

Diurnal. 

Diet:

Omnivorous, preferring broad-leaved plants and clover. They also eat a variety of seeds, roots, fruits, insects (grasshoppers), small vertebrates (lizards, frogs, small birds and snakes), and agricultural crops (alfalfa). Rheas continuously move as they feed and will commonly swallow pebbles which help to grind down food in the gizzard.