The lesser rhea or Darwin's rhea (Rhea pennata) gets its scientific name from Rhea, a Greek goddess, and pennata, meaning winged. It is a smaller version of the greater rhea. The South American gaucho horsemen referred Darwin to the smaller rhea, which turned out to be a distinct species, with different colouring, shorter, more feathery legs and blue-tinted eggs. A large flightless bird, the smaller of the two extant species of rheas with large legs, a long neck, and three-toed feet, it is found in the Altiplano and Patagonia in South America. Able to reach speeds of up to 60kph, it outruns predators – and to confuse them, it runs in a side to side motion before retracing its steps and squatting in the grass.
See also: Rhea