This is another bird that I have been looking forward to having a chance to photograph. I knew the Greater Roadrunner was native to the Dallas/Fort Worth Area, but it has been many years since I’ve last seen one.
I don’t know much about the habits of these birds. It looks to me as if they may find a place that they like and then restrict their activities to the immediate vicinity. Their home range may be very limited.
I say that because we found this individual several weeks ago in Combine, Texas. We missed our opportunity for pictures at that time, but when we made a return visit this past weekend the roadrunner was there again in almost the exact same spot! We were a little better prepared this time!
Wikipdeia describes the Greater Roadrunner in this way:
The Greater Roadrunner, taxonomically classified as Geococcyx californianus, meaning “Californian Earth-cuckoo,” is a long-legged bird in the cuckoo family, Cuculidae. Along with the Lesser Roadrunner, it is one of two species in the roadrunner genus Geococcyx. This roadrunner is also known as the chaparral cock, ground cuckoo, and snake killer.
The Greater Roadrunner nests on a platform of sticks low in a cactus or a bush and lays 3–6 eggs, which hatch in 20 days. The chicks fledge in another 18 days. Pairs may occasionally rear a second brood.
Greater Roadrunners measure 61 cm (2.00 ft) in length, about half of which is tail. They have long, wobbly legs and a slender, pointed bill. The upper body is mostly brown with black streaks and sometimes pink spots. The neck and upper breast are white or pale brown with dark brown streaks, and the belly is white. A crest of brown feathers sticks up on the head, and a bare patch of orange and blue skin lies behind each eye; the blue is replaced by white in adult males (except the blue adjacent to the eye), and the orange (to the rear) is often hidden by feathers.
This bird walks around rapidly, running down prey. It mainly feeds on insects, fruit and seeds with the addition of small reptiles, small rodents, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, small birds, their eggs, and carrion, including roadkills. It kills larger prey with a blow from the beak—hitting the base of the neck of small mammals—or by holding it in the beak and beating it against a rock. Two roadrunners sometimes attack a relatively big snake cooperatively.
Although capable of weak flight, it spends most of its time on the ground, and can run at speeds of up to 20 mph (32 km/h). Cases where roadrunners have run as fast as 26 mph (42 km/h) have been reported. This is the fastest running speed ever clocked for a flying bird, although it is not as fast as the flightless Ostrich.
20 Replies to “Greater Roadrunner – Beep! Beep!”
I’ve seen them over on the CistercianPrep Campus off of 114
Thanks for the tip, Peter!
Cool pictures. 🙂 I have also seen two in little elm. They always stay close to each other
I saw a Roadrunner 2 weekends ago, just to the south-east of Mountanview Lake and Dallas Baptist University, right on a bend of 30 where it is hilly, and people are stopping to take bluebonnet pictures. This is the first one I can ever remember seeing in DFW!
We live in Grapevine Texas, near DFW Airport, beside a wooded watershed area. Today my dog alerted and we stepped out the door to see what got her attention. There stood a Road Runner. Normally Scout pays little attention to birds but she was just curious and approached. The bird hopped up into a low branch. I have seen Road Runners before in in Southwest Texas and this fellow seemed small so It may have been a chick or a smaller breed. Next time I will try to get a picture since it likely is nested in our woods.
I’m near Lovers Lane and Inwood and I had a roadrunner land on my birdbath and feeders today. He ran across my yard then flew up to my 8 foot fence and ran along the top of it. First time to see one in Dallas or near my house. It was neat!
I saw three of these birds in the walking area in Sunnyvale off trip raid just today.they are amazing to see.
Just saw one trying to cross the road in Flower Mound. Heavily populated area but he was coming out of a small over grown field. Gonna have to keep a look out for him again.
Saw a young one today in Royse City by the Exon
We have two roadrunners that have been in our front yard. They’ve been in the area for a couple of weeks. We live in Wylie on Lake Ray Hubbard, so there are trees and overgrowth in the area.
We have two mating pairs that are currently nesting near our house in Sachse, TX. It’s a large lot neighborhood that is mostly unfenced, and we do have large trees, cactus and good shelter. They especially enjoy using our kid’s playhouse as a lookout for prey and shade. I find them hunting our property as well as the surrounding properties around ours, about 9 acres in all. They seem to especially like the lizards, although they keep trying to go after smaller birds as well. Very fun birds to sit and watch.
I saw one in Plano TX near Tejas Park in early Aug 2018. Ran in front of me, caught a grass hopper and kept on going. Beep…Beep.
Saw one roadrunner at a business near the intersection of Stacy Rd and Hwy 5/Greenville. Very cool looking bird.
Just saw a roadrunner in my E. Richardson neighborhood yesterday! Stared at me as I rode past on my bike. I stopped and watched it for a bit, and it watched me curiously, making a cooing sound. It walked towards me (maybe 6 feet away) and sat down in the dirt. I got to see its head crest feathers and the little orange patch a couple of times. It eventually ran off down the bike path. Seemed pretty chill and unafraid of humans. Can’t wait to see if it’s there again today!
Not sure if there are one or more, but for 2 hours I see one walking around in a vacant lot next door, then walk into the woods behind. The woods are between Richwood Drive and Hwy-67 in South Oak Cliff Dallas TX.
Executive Airport is on the other side of Hwy-67.
Sounded like dogs crying in the yard on the other side and the bird walked back and fourth investigating for a while.
I saw a roadrunner strolling around on our patio and pool this week in Ovilla. Hopefully, we’ll see him again.
Taking a walk by the Tierra Verde golf club I have seen the roadrunner runner twice.
Nesting pair in Murphy Tx next to my house around Maxwell Creek. They May have killed a large 5 foot rat snake too.
I saw a roadrunner in our front yard on 5/9/22 in rural Farmersville, Tx.
Saw one last week NW highway and Trails parkway in Mesquite. Never knew they were endemic to this area.