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greater-roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

The Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) is a long-legged bird in the cuckoo family, Cuculidae. It is one of the two roadrunner species in the genus Geococcyx, the other Lesser Roadrunner. This roadrunner is also known as the Chaparral Cock.

Description

The roadrunner is about long and weighs about 300 grams (10.5 oz), and is the largest North American cuckoo. The adult has a bushy crest and long thick dark bill. It has a long dark tail, a dark head and back, and is pale on the front of the neck and on the belly. Roadrunners have four toes on each foot; two face forward, and two face backward.

Habitat

The breeding habitat is desert and shrubby country in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It can be seen in the US states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas,and rarely in Arkansas, Missouri, and Louisiana. The Roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico.

Behavior

The Greater Roadrunner nests on a platform of sticks low in cactus or a bush and lays 3-6 eggs which hatch in 20 days. The chicks fledge in another 18 days. Pairs may occasionally rear a second brood.

This bird walks rapidly about, running down prey or occasionally jumping up to catch insects or birds. It mainly feeds on insects, small reptiles, rodents, tarantulas, scorpions and small birds.

Although capable of flight, it spends most of its time on the ground, and can run at speeds of 24 km/h (15 miles per hour) or more.

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References

  • Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern

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