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Roadrunner

Scientific Name:
Geococcyx californiana

Status:
Common

Distribution:
Southwestern United States

Habitat:
Deserts, chaparral

Diet:
(Carnivore) wild- insects, small birds, lizards, snakes; In the Zoo- mice, bird of prey meat.

Length:
20-24 inches

Weight:
8-24 ounces

Reproduction:
Reach sexual maturity in 2-3 years. Females incubate 2-12 eggs in the spring.

Longevity:
7-8 years

General Description:
A very distinctive large black and white mottled ground bird. It has a distinctive head crest and a very large bill.

Behavior:
A member of the cuckoo family, the roadrunner is famous for its speed in running, up to 26 mph. It has strong legs with two toes facing inwards and two backwards. If hard-pressed it will take off and fly awkwardly. It is best known for its habit of catching snakes. The roadrunner circles around the snake, keeping clear of the snake's fangs, rushes in and stabs the snake with its pointed bill. Roadrunners survive the hot desert weather by seeking shade during the hottest part of the day and being active when the air has cooled down. Usual vocalization is a beak clatter and the head feathers may be raised.

Did you know? Roadrunners catch and swallow whole small mammals like ground squirrels.

Where can you find them? Zoos and natural habitats throughout their range.

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El Paso's Zoo Mission
Our mission is to celebrate the value of animals and natural resources and to create opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature.