Greater Roadrunner

Geococcyx californianus

Order

CUCULIFORMES

Family

Cuckoos, Roadrunners and Anis (Cuculidae)

Code 4

GRRO

Code 6

GEOCAL

ITIS

Egg Color:

White to pale yellow



Number of Eggs:

2



Incubation Days:

20



Egg Incubator:

Both sexes



Nest Location:

2 - 12 feet above ground



Nest Material:

Twigs with lining of grass, mesquite pods, leaves, feathers, snakeskin, and horse or cattle droppings.



Migration:

Nonmigratory



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General

Greater Roadrunner: Large, ground-dwelling cuckoo with overall brown, white and buff streaked appearance. Head has a shaggy crest. Face has blue and orange bare patch of skin behind eyes. Tail is long. Sexes are similar.

Range and Habitat

Greater Roadrunner: Resident throughout much of the desert regions of southern and southwestern United Sates, and also Central America. Most common in the Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas and the South Texas brushlands. Their habitat includes open, arid habitats with shrubs and thickets, desert scrub, chaparral, savannah, open brush-lands and open woodlands.

Breeding and Nesting

Greater Roadrunner: Two white to pale yellow eggs are laid in a flat stick nest lined with grass, and usually built in a thick shrub or cactus close to the ground. Eggs are incubated for 20 days mostly by the male.

Foraging and Feeding

Greater Roadrunner: Diet consists mainly of insects, snails, lizards, scorpions, spiders, young birds, small mammals, and in winter, plant material. Famous for its ability to prey on rattlesnakes; picks snake up by the tail and kills it by slamming the head onto the ground.

Vocalization

Greater Roadrunner: Emits clucks, crows, dove-like coos, dog-like whines, and hoarse guttural notes.

Similar Species

Greater Roadrunner: Plain Chachalaca has a smaller bill, buff underparts, and unstreaked upperparts.

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CrestX
Tufts of feathers on the head of the bird.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X