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Road Runner

Roadrunners are found in prairies and in deserts in southwestern United States.

The roadrunner is a large black, white and brown bird with a distinctive head crest. It has strong feet a long white-tipped tail and an over-sized bill.

It is 20 to 24 inches long from the tip of its tail to the end of its beak.

The roadrunner is a very fast bird that runs on the ground. It can run up to 17 mile per hour. When it is in danger or is traveling downhill, it flies but cannot stay in the air for more than a few seconds.

The roadrunner makes 6 to 8 low dove-like coos that drop in pitch, as well as a clattering sound.

The roadrunner’s carnivorous habits offer it a large supply of very moist food. The roadrunner eats other animals including insects, scorpions, lizards, snakes, rodents and other birds. They eat some plants during the winter.

The roadrunner is one of the few animals that prey on rattlesnakes. It grabs a coiled rattlesnake by the tail and cracks it like a whip and slams the snake’s head against the ground until it is dead. It then swallows its prey whole.

The roadrunner makes its nest in a bush, cactus or small tree. The female lays 2 to 12 white eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs. The first eggs to hatch often crowd out the late-arriving runts, which are occasionally eaten by the parents. Usually only 3 to 4 birds are fledged from the nest after about 18 days. They remain near the adults for another 2 weeks before dispersing.

The roadrunner does have predators, they include include hawks, house cats, raccoons, rat snakes, bullsnakes, skunks and coyotes eat the nestlings and eggs.