The Greater Roadrunner

The Greater Roadrunner

Known by many names, the Greater Roadrunner is an unmistakable bird. Often, a bird first recognized and remembered by its many habits, including the method used to kill its prey. The main method is the killing of its prey by brute force, i.e. the beating of the prey upon a nearby object, which crushes the prey’s body. It ranges throughout the southwest, extending into Northern California and Louisiana. The Greater Roadrunner is not to be confused with the Lesser Roadrunner; these two differ in distribution, the latter being found in Mexico. This member of the cuckoo family, being an opportunistic hunter, hunts a variety of prey in a variety of ways. Feasting on insects to vertebrates, such as snakes (both venomous and non venomous), to cases of capture of birds at bird feeders, such as Purple Martin chicks. The Greater Roadrunner was witnessed gaining access to these chicks by flight from a nearby tree. Cases have been reported of low-flying birds knocked down and fed upon by a leaping roadrunner hiding in scrubs. This ground cuckoo does not seem affected by venom in snakes, often hunting large venomous snakes in a group pair. It swallows large prey head-first while throwing its head back, furthering the prey down its throat. Research has shown Horned lizards being eaten back side up, to protect internal organs. Food selection for the Greater Roadrunner largely depends on the season. During breeding season, a roadrunner’s diet consist mainly of vertebrates; outside of the breeding season, it feeds on fruits from cactus (de-thorns by rolling, until thorns are removed), owl pellets, mud and carrion. -Jessie Story

6 thoughts on “The Greater Roadrunner

  1. I really appreciated the short educational paragraph about the Roadrunner. A very welcome addition to the blog.

  2. I live the GRRO! I love the frilled head feathers lol.
    Jessie, you do a wonderful and expressive dialogue. I enjoy reading your professional output. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  3. I couldn’t resist watching/reading this again! The Greater Roadrunner is one of my favorite birds. I love how he takes off at the end of the video! Thank you for taking the time to put all of these entries together to share with us. Keep up the excellent work!

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