Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
an order of birds similar to the order Rheiformes. The bird measures 20–53 cm in length and weighs 0.4–1 kg. The compact body has short wings and a very short tail that is sometimes concealed under feathers. The birds have powerful legs that sometimes lack a posterior toe. The plumage, which is similar among males and females, is gray, brown, or reddish, with transverse streaks or spots. There are 45 species, which are distributed in the Americas from southern Mexico to Patagonia.
The birds, which are ground-dwelling, lead a sedentary life and inhabit forests, shrub thickets, and steppes. They are known for flushing quickly and are capable of swift flight, but only for short distances. Most species are polygamous. The nest is a hole in the ground with almost no lining. The female lays approximately 12 large, shiny eggs of uniform color, usually blue, green, or lilac. The male incubates the eggs for 19 or 20 days and cares for the young. The birds feed on berries, seeds, and insects. They are hunted by man.