Rhea pennata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Struthioniformes Rheidae

Scientific Name: Rhea pennata d'Orbigny, 1834
Common Name(s):
English Lesser Rhea
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Taxonomic Notes:

Rhea pennata and R. tarapacensis (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as R. pennata following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

Identification information: 92-100cm; 15-25kg. Large flightless bird of the shrub-steppe and dry grasslands in southern South America. Similar spp. Buffy-brown upperparts and more extensive white spotting than that shown by the geographically separated R. tarapacensis. Voice. During the breeding season males make a roaring noise likened to a fog-horn (Davies 2002).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Knapton, B., Pearman, M. & Jaramillo, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Capper, D., Symes, A., Mazar Barnett, J., Sharpe, C J, Martin, R, Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Rhea pennata (as defined following the taxonomic change) is found in west-central and southern Argentina (introduced to Tierra del Fuego in 1936) and south-eastern Chile, and inhabits shrub-steppe and floodplain grasslands from sea-level to 2,000 m (Davies 2002). It is characterised as still fairly common (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Davies 2002). Hunting and egg-collection are threats to this species, with overgrazing perhaps being less significant but still having a negative impact (Barri et al. 2008). Captive breeding projects are taking place for conservation and commercial reasons (F. Barri in litt. 2012).

Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Chile
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:859000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'uncommon' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend Justification:  The species is suspected to have undergone declines owing to the effects of hunting and egg-collection, with overgrazing perhaps being less significant but still having a negative impact.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species inhabits steppe, shrubland, shrub-steppe and mallines (successional wetlands with bog, meadows and ponds) (Bellis et al. 2006), up to 1,500 m, generally breeding in upland areas with bunch-grass (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Typically found in groups of 5-30, with a male always accompanied by several females (Davies 2002). During the breeding season the females lay up to 50 eggs in a single nest, which the male alone incubates (Davies 2002).

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):11
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Develop campaigns to raise awareness and reduce hunting, egg-collecting and the domestication of wild immature birds. Prevent illegal hunting and egg-collecting, while developing alternative sustainable harvesting programmes (Barri et al. 2008b). Harvest "orphan eggs" (eggs sporadically laid outside nests) for use in captive breeding and reintroduction programmes (Barri et al. 2008a). Maintain "mallín" (meadow) habitats in adequate condition as nesting sites (Bellis et al. 2006, Barri et al. 2008b, Barri et al. 2009).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Rhea pennata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22728199A94974489. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided