The Greater Roadrunner
) 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.
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.
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
, New Mexico
,and rarely in Arkansas
, and Louisiana
. The Roadrunner is the state bird
of New Mexico.
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.
- The Greater Roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico, USA.
- The Greater Roadrunner is the mascot of California State University, Bakersfield, College of the Desert (Palm Desert, CA), Metropolitan State College of Denver, State Fair Community College (Sedalia, Missouri), Midland College (Midland, Texas), the College of DuPage (DuPage County, Illinois) and the University of Texas at San Antonio.
- Some Pueblo Indian tribes, such as the Hopi, believed that the roadrunner provided protection against evil spirits.
- The Greater Roadrunner serves loosely as the basis for the character Road Runner in the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon shorts by Chuck Jones.
- Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern