Captain Rick : I have seen lots of firsts along the morning trail on my around-world walking/biking trek, spanning 17,000 miles in 15 years. This morning I was passed by a roadrunner doing about 20 mph. Not a car … a bird running. It is the fastest runner of all flying birds. It was about a foot tall and nearly two feet long. It had a bright orange patch running rearward from its eye and a big feathery headdress. It was a beautiful bird, but I was disappointed that it did not go ‘beep beep’ like in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes I watched as a child.
I was not expecting to be passed by a roadrunner on my morning exercise walk, so I did not have my camera along. As a Flickr PRO member, I searched Flickr and found a roadrunner that most closely resembled the one that passed me. Click on the image above to view the full photo presented in stunning 4K HD captured by Flickr’s susanloellison.
About the ‘Greater Roadrunner’
The Greater Roadrunner is a long-legged bird in the cuckoo family, prevalent in Arizona and the Southwestern United States and Mexico. Although capable of limited 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 clocked for a flying bird.
Greater Roadrunners measure 61 cm (2.00 ft) in length and wingspan. About half of their length is tail feathers. They measure 30 cm (1 foot) tall. They have long 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. Roadrunners have 4 toes on each zygodactyl foot; two face forward, and two face backward.
This bird walks around rapidly, running down prey. It feeds mainly on small animals including insects, spiders (including black widows), tarantulas, scorpions, mice, small birds and especially lizards and small snakes. Venomous serpents, including small rattlesnakes, are readily consumed. It kills prey by holding the victim in its bill and slamming it repeatedly against the ground.
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