Greater Roadrunner

General description.

It's understandable why the comical Greater Roadrunner inspired a lovable cartoon. This member of the cuckoo family is gray-brown and heavily streaked, with sturdy legs for running, as he prefers that to flying. He can easily outpace any human. He twitches his tail from side to side and up and down, and when alerted, his bushy crest reaches skyward.

Flight pattern.

The energy needed for seeking water and food takes priority to building up muscle for flying. Therefore, through evolution, the wings of the Greater Roadrunner have been reduced, and he is mostly seen twisting and turning through cactus rather than in flight. The Roadrunner catches insects snakes, scorpions and mice, which he sometimes swallows little by little and at other times, gulps them down whole.

Breeding habits.

The Roadrunner breeds and makes his home in the thickets of the open, arid country of the Southwest United States.

Calls or song.

This bird boasts a variety of sounds from clucks, caws and dove-like cooing to a dog-like whine.

Population and distribution.

This bird is located in the deserts of Southern California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.

Nesting habits.

The Roadrunner lays 3-5 ivory-colored eggs in a cup-shaped nest of twigs, placed in a mesquite tree or tall cactus.
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