Greater Rhea

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The Greater Rhea, Rhea americana, is a flightless bird found in eastern South America. Other names for the Greater Rhea include the Grey, Common, American Rhea, ñandú (Spanish) or ema (Portuguese). One of two species in the genus Rhea, in the family Rheidae, the Greater Rhea is endemic to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. It inhabits a variety of open areas, such as grasslands, savanna or grassy wetlands. It has a length of and a wingspan of . Weighing , the Greater Rhea is the largest bird in South America. In the wild, the Greater Rhea has a life expectancy of 15 years. It is also notable for its reproductive habits, and for the fact that a group has established itself in Germany in recent years.


The Greater Rhea derives its scientific name from Rhea, a Greek goddess, and the Latinized form of America. It was originally described by Carolus Linnaeus in his 18th-century work, Systema Naturae under its current binomial name. He identified specimens from Sergipe, and Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, in 1758. They are from the family Rheidae, and the order Struthioniformes, commonly known as ratites. They are joined in this order by Emus, Ostriches, cassowaries, and kiwis, along with the extinct forms moas, and elephant birds.


There are five subspecies of the Greater Rhea; their ranges meet around the Tropic of Capricorn:<ref name=Folch...
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