Monday, November 21, 2011

Greater Roadrunner

Another bird of the American southwest and the last of our fast-food bird-list species (see previous two posts), Greater Roadrunners are aberrant, ground-running cuckoos. This one foraged in the bushes of a McDonalds in Catalina, Arizona. The roadrunner is an opportunistic predator, feeding on "snakes, lizards, spiders, scorpions, insects, birds, rodents, and bats, which it beats repeatedly against a hard substrate before consuming. During severe food shortages, it may eat its own young" (Hughes 2011). Why Greater Roadrunner? A second species of roadrunner, the Lesser, is found in Mexico.  As you can see in the photograph below, which I took in Antiqua Morelos in Tamaulipas, Mexico, in July 1964.  The Lesser Roadrunner is smaller and less streaked below than its northern cousin.  The two species overlap, but don't interbreed, in central Mexico.

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