Greater Roadrunner

1/1600s at f5.6, ISO:800, Canon Mark III 1Ds w/400mm, 1.4x converter


The name roadrunner comes from the bird's habit of racing down roads in front of moving vehicles and then darting to safety in the brush. The breeding habitat is desert and shrubby country in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The Roadrunner nest on a platform of sticks low in a cactus or a bush and lays 3 to 6 eggs, which hatch in 20 days. The chicks fledge in another 18 days. Pairs may occasionally rear a second brood. This bird walks around rapidly, running down prey or occasionally jumping up to catch insects or birds. It mainly feeds on insects, with the addition of small reptiles (including rattlesnakes up to 60 cm long), rodents and other small mammals, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, small birds (particularly from feeders and birdhouses) and eggs, and carrion. It kills larger prey with a blow from the beak—hitting the base of the neck of small mammals or by holding it in the beak and beating it against a rock. Two roadrunners sometimes attack a relatively big snake cooperatively. Fruit and seeds typically constitute about 10% of the diet.
Bosque del Apache N.W.R.
 
01/20/2011