Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Greater Roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus
Greater Roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus, Salton Sea, California. These sleek, swift little birds can run at speeds up to 25 mph and earned their moniker for running on the road in front of cars, darting off to safety at the last minute. They have a varied diet including seeds, fruit, insects, small birds, rodents, snakes, lizards, spiders, scorpions, centipedes and millipedes. The have been known to bludgeon large prey against a rock to kill them or to hit the base of a rodent's neck with their significant beak. They will also occasionally hunt cooperatively.
Notably, there was something about these little birds that reminded me of the velociraptors in Jurassic Park. I don't know if they modeled the velociraptors in the movie after roadrunners or if it was the other way around (i.e., roadrunners being long lost relatives of the velociraptors). Either way, they are smart, lively birds to watch.