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Greater roadrunner facts for kids

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Greater roadrunner
Geococcyx californianus.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Geococcyx californianus map.svg
Range of G. californianus

The greater roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) is one of two species of the roadrunner. The lesser roadrunner is the other species. The greater roadrunner is also called the "ground cuckoo" and the "snake killer".


The greater roadrunner is about 52–62 cm (20–24 in) long, the wingspan is about 43-61 cm (17-24 in) long, and weighs about 221-538 grams. It is about 25-30 cm tall, and is the largest North American cuckoo. It has a long, thick bill, a long dark tail, it has a dark head, and the front of its neck and belly is blue. It has zygodactyl feet, meaning that on each foot there is two toes on the front and two on the back.

Where it lives

It lives in the deserts of states in southwestern United States of America, like California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, and rarely in Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri. In is also found in the states of northern Mexico, like Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Durango, Jalisco, Coahuila, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Querétaro, México, Puebla, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, and San Luis Potosí.


The greater roadrunner makes its nests of sticks in a cactus or on a bush, and lays 3-6 eggs which take about 20 days to hatch. It eats mainly fruit, seeds and insects, but also eats some reptiles like snakes and lizards, small mammals, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, small birds and bird eggs. The greater roadrunner kills its prey by hitting the prey's neck with its beak or by holding its prey in its beak and hitting the prey on a rock.


Some indian tribes, like the Hopi, believed that the roadrunner protected people from evil spirits. In Mexico some people say that the roadrunner brings babies, while some people in Europe say that the white stork does this.

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