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Tinamous and Ratites: Struthioniformes

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And ReproductionGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, RATITES TINAMOUS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Ostriches are found in parts of central and southern Africa. Emus are distributed in several small areas of Australia. Kiwis are found in New Zealand. Rheas are distributed in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Cassowaries are found in northern Australia, New Guinea, and surrounding islands. Tinamous are found in southern Mexico and throughout Central and South America.


Habitat varies between families. Ratites live in grasslands, eucalyptus forests, woodlands, alpine plains, subtropical and temperate forests, coastal areas, shrubland, desert, and rainforests. Tinamous live in rainforests, deciduous forests, woodlands, grasslands, and croplands.


Largely herbivores (plant eaters), ratites and tinamous eat mostly plants, fruits, seeds, and flowers although several families also eat insects, snails, and earthworms.


Ratites are raised by humans for their meat and feathers. Their eggs are used as food and as decoration. Tinamous are hunted in the wild by humans for their meat.


Two Struthioniformes species are listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as Critically Endangered, facing an extremely high risk of extinction. Nine species are listed by as Vulnerable, facing a high risk of extinction. One species is Endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction and four species are listed as Near Threatened, in danger of becoming threatened.


FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Davies, S. J. J. F., et al., eds. Bird Families of the World. Vol. 8, Ratites and Tinamous: Tinamidae, Rheidae, Dromaiidae, Casuariidae, Apterygidae, Struthionidae. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Elwood, Ann, and John B. Wexo. Ostriches, Emus, Rheas, Kiwis, and Cassowaries (Zoo Books). Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 2000.

Fowler, Allan. These Birds Can't Fly. New York: Bt Bound, 2001.

Harris, Timothy. Ostriches, Rheas, Cassowaries, Emus, and Kiwis. New York: Beech Publishing House, 1997.

Sinclair, Ian, et al. Birds of Southern Africa. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002.


Periodicals:

Owen, James. "Does Rain Forest Bird 'Boom' Like a Dinosaur?" National Geographic News (November 4, 2003).

Roach, John. "Female Moa Bird Liked the Little Guys, Studies Suggest." National Geographic News (September 11, 2003).

Wiley, C. B. "Dinosaurs to Ratites in Only 250 Million Years." Live Animal Trade & Transport Magazine (June 1993): 5–16.


Web sites:

American Ostrich Association. http://www.ostriches.org (accessed on July 13, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirds