Greater Roadrunner (Photo: Lip Kee Yap / Wikimedia)

Greater Roadrunner

This large streaky bird with a shaggy head is unmistakable, though it does not look much like the famous cartoon. The Greater Roadrunner has a long tail spotted with white and a head with a crest that it raises and lowers as it stalks through the dry open country while hunting.

Listen For

A very dovelike series of coos, cu-cu-cu-cu-cuurrrr, that slows down and drops in tone as it ends. No Greater Roadrunner has ever been recorded as saying meep-meep!


Roadrunners are fast birds when chasing prey-they can run as fast as 15 mph. They prefer to walk or run on the ground rather than flying and will fly only as a last resort.

Find it:

Greater Roadrunners prefer very dry habitats, such as brushy desert and chaparral. Watch for them moving methodically through a habitat, hoping to startle a lizard, snake, or mouse into revealing itself.


Roadrunners eat almost anything they can catch: lizards and snakes, small rodents, scorpions and tarantulas, and large insects. They’ll even leap up to catch hummingbirds at nectar feeders.

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