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Content tagged with "roadrunner"

Photo of a greater roadrunner, side view

Greater Roadrunner

Geococcyx californianus
Though most Americans associate the roadrunner with the desert Southwest, this species has been expanding its range over the past century and is now found as far as southwestern Missouri and western Louisiana.

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Photo of a greater roadrunner, side view

Greater Roadrunner

The greater roadrunner has a long tail; long, heavy, downcurved bill; and four toes positioned like an X. It runs on the ground, is relatively large, and has short, rounded wings. It has a brown and pale streaked appearance, darker above than below. The tail is long and dark with white edges, the legs are strong and long, and the head feathers are crested.

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Greater Roadrunner

Video of a greater roadrunner in the wild.

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Photo of a greater runner capturing a deer mouse

Greater Roadrunner Capturing Deer Mouse

Although omnivorous enough to eat fruit and seeds, the greater roadrunner is a remarkable predator, running down and snatching up insects, small reptiles and mammals, spiders, scorpions, and even small birds.

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Closeup photo of a greater roadrunner head with crest lowered

Greater Roadrunner Closeup (Crest Lowered)

Roadrunners help control local reptile and insect populations. As a species sensitive to cold winters, its range fluctuations can provide data for scientists tracking climate change.

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Closeup photo of a greater roadrunner head with crest raised

Greater Roadrunner Closeup (Crest Raised)

In Missouri, greater roadrunners are found in glades, open woodlands, and occasionally in parking lots or along roadsides. They were first reported in our state in 1956 near Branson. By the 1970s some had spread as far north as the Missouri River in Osage County, but several cold, snowy winters drove them back. They rebounded by the 1990s and have been seen as far north as Jefferson City.

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roadrunner

The Adaptable Roadrunner

This content is archived
An up-close look at one of our most unique birds.

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