Greater Roadrunner – New Mexico state bird

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)

Description: Named for its habit of racing down roads in front of moving vehicles and darting to safety in the brush, the Greater Roadrunner is a ground-dwelling cuckoo of the desert Southwest United States.
State(s):New Mexico
Year Designated: 1949


Key Facts

Life Span7 to 8 years Years
FlightFlying Bird

Conservation Status

Conservation StatusLeast Concern


Weight221-538 g
Wing Span49 cm
Length52-54 cm

Taxonomic Serial Number                          177836

Compared to the Average State Bird

How the Greater Roadrunner measures up:

  • Wing span13 cm and 36% larger than the average state bird’s wingspan, (36 cm).
  • Weight453 g and 533% heavier than the average state bird’s weight (85 g)
  • Length27 cm100%, and 2 times longer than the average state bird’s length (27 cm)

Scientific Classification

AnimaliaChordataAvesCuculiformesCuculidaeGeococcyx californianus


Appearance Description

AppearanceSpeckled blue, gray, and brown chest, long and dark tail, and a dark head and back. Bushy crest and long, thick, dark bill. Four toes: two facing forward and two facing backward.



DietInsects, spiders, snakes, scorpions, lizards, and some fruit.
Communication StylesDownward slurring clattering call.
Migratory BehaviorNon-migratory

Range of Habitation



Desert and shrubby plains.


hakws, coyotes and snakes.

Mating and Breeding

Breeding Overview

Breeding BehaviorMonogamous, pairs often mate for life.
Breeding SeasonSpring to mid-summer
NestingShallow platform of thorny sticks placed in a thorny brush, small tree, or cactus.


Greater Roadrunner

ColorWhite with yellowish chalky film.
Clutch Size3 to 8 egg(s)
Egg Laying MonthsSpring to mid-summer

Chick description

Eyes closed. Active and able to beg.


Birding Facts

Interesting FactThe Greater Roadrunner eats many venomous prey items, including scorpions, spiders, and rattlesnakes. Roadrunners often collaborate with another Roadrunner to kill large snakes.
Best Season to ObserveAutumn,Spring,Summer,Winter
Observation TipsOften spotted on the ground in the desert near brush and cacti.


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