Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)


Taxonomy

French: Grand Géocoucou German: Wegekuckuck Spanish: Correcaminos grande
Taxonomy:

Saurothera californiana

Lesson

, 1829,

California, USA

.

Birds from Texas (USA) to E Mexico (S to Nuevo León and Veracruz) on average smaller and have been awarded race dromicus, but overlap in size with those from other parts of species’ range. Monotypic.

Distribution:

SW USA from NC California, Utah and Colorado E to Missouri and Louisiana S in Mexico to S Baja California, Michoacán, Puebla and Veracruz.

Descriptive notes

52–58 cm; male 187–430 g (once 588 g), female 250–352 g. Large and slender, with long tail and long legs; streaked brown above with bronze gloss, shaggy... read more

Voice

Mournful dove-like “coo” notes, slow and descending in pitch; also a bill-rattle.

Habitat

Arid scrub, lowland or montane; widely dispersed in dry open country with scattered brush, mesquite... read more

Food and feeding

Opportunistic carnivore, taking: insects (grasshoppers, crickets, cicadas, caterpillars, beetles), scorpions, centipedes, spiders (... read more

Breeding

In S California, breeds from late Feb in low elevations of Lower Sonoran Life Zone, a month later in upland deserts of Upper Sonoran Life... read more

Movements

Resident. Pair remains on territory all year and in successive years; one remained five years in... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to fairly common; population numbers over most of range have shown no significant change in period 1966–1993. Most numerous in SE... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. & de Juana, E. (2017). Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/54914 on 21 July 2017).