Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Male Bird At Smithsonian's National Zoo Has Special Reason To Celebrate Father's Day

Date:
June 15, 2008
Source:
Smithsonian
Summary:
How will the only male rhea at the Smithsonian's National Zoo spend Father's Day? He will spend it much like he has spent the past eight weeks: as a proud papa nurturing and caring for his four chicks born April 20. This is the first time in some 30 years that rhea chicks have hatched at the Zoo.

Two of the four new rhea chicks at the Smithsonian's National Zoo nest in the feathers of their father. The chicks hatched on April 20 and were the first rhea chicks to hatch at the National Zoo in 30 years. Dedicated fathers, it is the male rhea who incubates the eggs and protects the chicks after they hatch. The Zoo is now home to a total of seven rheas: a male, two females, and the four new chicks.
Credit: Copyright Mehgan Murphy/Smithsonian’s National Zoo

How will the only male rhea at the Smithsonian's National Zoo spend Father's Day? He will spend it much like he has spent the past eight weeks: as a proud papa nurturing and caring for his four chicks born April 20. This is the first time in some 30 years that rhea chicks have hatched at the Zoo.

"The birth of these chicks comes at a time when the number of rheas in zoos is declining," said Zoo biologist Sara Hallager. "By developing a rhea studbook--an official record relating to the animal's history--we are hoping to ensure that knowledge relating to their husbandry is retained and to stimulate further interest in the birds both inside and outside of zoos."

Besides the bird's monumental size, the males' parenting behavior is rather unusual. The male bird hatches and raises the young. After mating, the male builds a nest and incubates the eggs. Once the eggs are hatched, he continues to rear the chicks, guarding them from any potential threat--including humans and even female rheas--for the first six months.

A large, flightless bird, the rhea is native to South America and is part of the family of birds known as ratites, which also includes the ostrich, emu, kiwi and cassowary. Rheas are often mistaken for ostriches because they share similar characteristics, including large feathers and a similar facial structure, and grow to an impressive size. The Zoo's male rhea stands 5 feet 8 inches and its two females are between 4 1/2 and 5 feet tall.

"The dad is doing a great job," Hallager said. "First-time parents sometimes don't know what to do. With this guy, it's pure instinct."

In the fall, the four birds--two males and two females--will find permanent homes at zoos in the U.S.

Until then, the National Zoo's entire rhea family--the male, two females and four chicks--may be viewed at the outside exhibit at the Birdhouse (between the flamingoes and cassowaries) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Smithsonian. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Smithsonian. "Male Bird At Smithsonian's National Zoo Has Special Reason To Celebrate Father's Day." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080606160708.htm>.
Smithsonian. (2008, June 15). Male Bird At Smithsonian's National Zoo Has Special Reason To Celebrate Father's Day. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080606160708.htm
Smithsonian. "Male Bird At Smithsonian's National Zoo Has Special Reason To Celebrate Father's Day." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080606160708.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

AP (July 29, 2014) Food scraps and other items left on the grounds by picnickers brings unwelcome visitors to the grounds of the world famous and popular Louvre Museum in Paris. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

AFP (July 29, 2014) The world's great apes face extinction within decades, renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall warned Tuesday in a call to arms to ensure man's closest relatives are not wiped out. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins