8 Roadrunner Facts for Kids
1. The Roadrunner is a bird, a rather famous species of bird thanks to the Roadrunner cartoons that were popular in the 1960′s and 70′s (and some would argue still today). There are two different species of roadrunner. The greater roadrunner found larger in the southwestern United States and the lesser roadrunner found in Mexico and Central America.
2. The roadrunner is a bird of the cuckoo family. It is a ground foraging bird that has long spindly legs that make running across the ground a breeze. They have four toes on each foot. Two facing forward and tow facing backward so that they can hang on easily when they are perching.
3. These birds are relatively small (unlike the cartoon bird) but they are pretty fast. They typically weigh about 10 ounces and only stand about 22 inches tall from beak to tail feather. Their lightweight helps them to get around; they can travel at speeds up to 20 mph hence their name “roadrunner”.
4. They are viewed as a problem bird in the Southwest because they are known to dart out into traffic for no apparent reason than run back into the woods. They like wooded areas but can live just about anywhere there is a food supply.
5. They have long beaks which are an adaptation that helps them to eat. Speaking of eating the roadrunner is a carnivore. They eat snakes, insects, scorpions and even other birds when they are in the mood. This is unusual for a bird to behave in such a manner and certainly does not fit in with the cartoon stereotype.
6. They hunt on the ground and will eat just about any meat that they come across and can win a fight with. If they think they cannot win the fight they don’t pick one and use their long legs to scoot away from the scene.
7. They can fly even though they spend a great deal of time on the ground. They nest in tress and have been known to eat their own young if they have more than two.
8. The lesser roadrunner is a bit more shy than their greater cousin. The lesser likes to live in heavily wooded areas. They are smaller and avoid contact with humans. The greater roadrunner does not seem too interested in humans either but largely goes about their day whether there is human presence or not.