Introducing Darwin’s rhea

Get familiar with a bird you might have never heard of before and watch the fluffy chicks explore the world for the first time

Charles Darwin made an enormous contribution to the field of biology. Not only did he explore areas to discover new wildlife, but he even gave his name to a precious few species. Darwin’s rhea was one of them, and World of Animals wants to introduce this bird to the world.

These large, flightless birds live in the Andes. They live in family groups of up to 30 and feed on plant matter. Edinburgh Zoo were blessed with a clutch of rhea chicks in May 2015 and the footage can be seen below.

Not only are the chicks heart-meltingly adorable, but it’s important that facilities continue to breed them in captivity. Wild rheas are under serious threat from egg collectors, hunters and habitat loss. Much of their land is being claimed and repurposed as grazing area for cattle. As the demand for red meat is continually high, it’s unlikely that cattle ranching in South America will cease any time soon.

When an animal is endangered it’s vital to have a healthy number in captivity ready to be re-introduced to the wild. Although it isn’t endangered yet, Darwin’s rhea could suffer drastic decline without any human intervention. With the help of facilities around the world we can save hundreds of species that would otherwise be wiped out.

Newborn rhea are precocial, meaning they can stand and walk within just hours of birth. Watch the footage below of the baby birds make their first fumbling steps.

WIN a family pass to Edinburgh Zoo! Just comment on this post with your favourite thing about the rhea chicks in the video.


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Image from Edinburgh Zoo