Greater rhea

Rhea americana


Near Threatened

Activity Period




Largest native bird in the Americas

Greater rheas are flightless birds that can run up to 40 miles per hour. They are also excellent swimmers, using their necks and wings to steer while swimming or running. Just don’t confuse them with their relatives: the ostrich and the emu!

tiger licking cage


Greater rheas can be found in grassland habitats, marshes, and near lakes and rivers during mating season.


Native to southeastern South America, rheas are found in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina.

Life Expectancy

In the wild, greater rheas have a life expectancy of 15 years. Under human care, they can live 30-40 years.


As omnivorous birds, greater rheas eat various leaves, seeds, insects, and fruit. Carrots are popular with the Zoo Boise crew.

Social Structure

Males are typically solitary, while females tend to form small groups. Larger groups flock together during breeding season.

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