New Mexico State Bird - Roadrunner



(Geococcyx californianus)
Adopted on March 16, 1949.

The legendary Roadrunner is famous for its distinctive appearance, its ability to eat rattlesnakes and its preference for scooting across the American deserts, as popularized in Warner Bros. cartoons.

The Roadrunner is a large, black-and-white, mottled ground bird with a distinctive head crest. It has strong feet, a long, white-tipped tail and an oversized bill.

It ranges in length from 20 to 24 inches from the tip of its tail to the end of its beak. It is a member of the Cuckoo Family (Cuculidae), characterized by feet with 2 forward toes and 2 behind.

When the Roadrunner senses danger or is traveling downhill, it flies, revealing short, rounded wings with a white crescent. But it cannot keep its large body airborne for more than a few seconds, and so prefers walking or running (up to 17 miles per hour) usually with a clownish gait.


  • Roadrunners are quick enough to catch and eat rattlesnakes.
  • Roadrunners prefer walking or running and attain speeds up to 17 mph. hour
  • The Roadrunner is also called the Chaparral Cock.
  • The Roadrunner reabsorbs water from its feces before excretion.
  • The Roadrunner's nasal gland eliminates excess salt, instead of using the urinary tract like most birds.
  • The Roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico.
  • Vital Stats
    1. Weight: 8-24 oz.
    2. Length: 20-24 inches"
    3. Height: 10-12"
    4. Sexual Maturity: 2-3 yrs.
    5. Mating Season: Spring
    6. Incubation: 18-20 days
    7. No. of Eggs: 2-12
    8. Birth Interval: 1 year
    9. Lifespan: 7 to 8 years
    10. Typical diet: insects, lizards, snakes,


Kingdom Animalia -- animals
   Phylum Chordata -- chordates
      Subphylum Vertebrata -- vertebrates
         Class Aves -- birds
            Order Cuculiformes -- cuckoos
               Family Neomorphidae 
                  Genus Geococcyx Wagler, 1831 -- roadrunners
                     Species Geococcyx californianus (Lesson, 1829) -- Correcaminos norteño, greater roadrunner