Roadrunner

The roadrunner is legendary for its speed, its unique appearance and because it is fast enough to catch and eat even a rattlesnake.

Roadrunners are faster, large brown and what or black and white birds that sport a head crest, strong legs and feet and a tail that is long and tipped in white.

The bill of the roadrunner is almost comically large and is useful to gather snakes and other prey.

The roadrunner can range from 20 to 24 inches from the tip of his tail to the beak.
It is part of the family of birds known as the cuckoo, with two toes aimed toward the front and two toes aimed toward the back.

roadrunner Roadrunner
Roadrunner

When the roadrunner senses any kind of danger it will fly, which shows off its white crescent beneath the wing.

It can’t fly for more than a few seconds at a time, so walks or runs. The roadrunner can speed along at up to 20 miles per hour when it is in high speed.

The habitat of the roadrunner is primarily a desert one, flat ground and scrub brush and tumbleweeds, and it will eat a large supply of very moist food, including snatching a dragonfly from midair1, or grabbing a hummingbird as it speeds past.

The roadrunner feeds almost entirely on other animals. It is classed as one of the carnivorous birds.

It will eat snakes frogs, lizards, scorpion’s rodents and even other birds.

Only in the winter will it include a greater portion of plant matter due to the scarcity of other plants.

Due to its incredible speed it is one of the very few animals that eat the rattlesnake rather than being eaten by the rattlesnake.

It will snag the rattlesnake by the tail and crack it across stones or the ground repeatedly until it is dead.

It will then display a very strange behavior. It is not able to eat the whole snake at one time, so, it will begin to swallow the prey whole, which is how they eat, and when it can’t continue to swallow, will walk around the desert scrub with the snake swinging from its mouth, and eat another few inches as part of the swallowed parts digest.

Roadrunner1 Roadrunner
Roadrunner

He courts his female by offering her choice tidbits of his own foods, and dances for her as she will beg for the bites.

After breeding he will give her the food.

Both parents gather materials but only the female builds the actual nest, which she will normally, build in a cactus or other small scrub or tree.

The female will lay about ten eggs and usually does so over the course of a few days, which means not all the eggs will hatch at one time.

Incubation of the eggs takes about twenty days. It is done by both parents, however more often than not the male sits on the eggs at night, because he has a slightly higher body temperature.

Those who hatch first will very often crowd the later arrivals out of the nest, which sometimes means they are eaten by the parents.

Usually only 4 or 5 of the young live to fly from the nest.

They stay near the parents for about 3 weeks until they are off on their own.

Find out more about the Roadrunner over at Wikipedia »

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