The common Nandu or the American Rhea is a bird belonging to the Rheidae family and may also be called the American ostrich. Found exclusively in South América, it belongs to the group of Struthioniformes, the same group as the ostrich, the rhea, and the extinct moa. It is a flightless, running bird adapted mainly to the plains, despite the fact that some subspecies can be found in semi wild parks and others in mountainous regions.
With an appearance similar to that of the ostrich it is also known by the name used in the XVI century, when the Spaniards called it an “ostrich (firstly the “Indian ostrich” and later the “American ostrich”). The word Nandu is derived from Guarani and means spider, probably for metaphoric reasons: the Nandu’s plumage calls to mind the hairy spiders found in the Amazon Basin. Other names by which it is known are “quéchua”, “suri” and “mapudungun” or “araucano”, rhea (which in Spanish is cheuque – choik´e), a name which appears to have come from the region of Patagônia.
The chicks of the Nandu are called “charitos” and the young Nandus are called charavones or charabones. Currently, the name “Nandu” includes both this species and the Pterocnemía pennata.
It can be up to 150 cm tall, with legs that have been developed and adapted for running, and is three-toed, with a wide neck and wings which are flightless. Its head is small and grey, and it has a powerful beak that is low and wide at the base and a black neck and breast and a grey body.
Its wide feet, like those of a spider, tarantula or migala are characteristic, and the Nandu vaguely resembles a large, sleeping spider.
The Nandu is polygamous, and the flocks are formed of one male and from 2 to 12 females. The male builds a nest in which the female lays its eggs, and the male is responsible for incubation. Despite being a very tame bird, it can suddenly become dangerous during this period.
It is omnivorous: eating seeds, grains, fruit, insects, frogs and reptiles, small mammals and baby chicks.
Why does it have this name?
As was previously mentioned, the other names for a small Nandu are Chatito and Surí. Despite the first having charm, we believe that SURI has an implicit geographical connotation.
As well as the material that indicates the origin of the name, it is also very much a part of our native culture. . With the created style, it is possible to add gestures and movement, establishing a typical animation with angry or happy expressions, shouting goal. It’s typical way of walking will be transformed into a football player.