When I think about a Roadrunner the first thing that comes to mind is the Looney Tunes character that is harassed by Wyle Coyote.  But the fact is the real Roadrunner doesn’t look much like the cartoon character.

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Even though the cartoon character is based on the Greater Roadrunner.

The Greater Roadrunner is a large, slender, brown and black feathered bird with streaks of green and teal colors throughout its back, wings and tail feathers.

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It is a member of the Cuckoo family and prefers to run on the ground instead of fly. When the bird gets excited it raises a crest of feathers on the top of its head.

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The Roadrunner has long strong legs and can run up to around twenty miles per hour.  The bird also leaves a distinctive track behind looking as if it is traveling in two directions.  An X appears on the ground due to two toes going forward and two toes going backward.

untitled (1 of 1)-10Designated the state bird of New Mexico in 1949 is also called a Chaparrel bird. During the cold desert night, the Roadrunner lowers its body temperature slightly, going into a slight torpor to conserve energy.

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To warm itself during the day, the Roadrunner exposes dark patches of skin on its back to the sun. Wikipedia

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The Greater Roadrunner is an opportunistic omnivore. Its diet normally consists of insects (such as grasshoppers, crickets, caterpillars, and beetles), small reptiles (such as lizards, collared lizards, and snakes, including rattlesnakes),[11]rodents and small mammals, spiders (including tarantulas), scorpions, centipedes, snails, small birds (and nestlings), eggs, and fruits and seeds like those from prickly pear cactuses and sumacs.    Wikipedia

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To read more about the Greater Roadruner visit Roadrunner at Wikipedia.

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