Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Roadrunner (Geococcyx velox)


French: Géocoucou véloce German: Rennkuckuck Spanish: Correcaminos chico

Cuculus velox


, 1836,



Has on occasion been subdivided into as many as five races, melanchima (from W Mexico), velox (EC Mexico), affinis (W Guatemala, El Salvador), pallidus (Yucatán Peninsula and E Guatemala) and longisignum (Honduras, N Nicaragua), but none of these considered sufficiently distinctive to warrant recognition. Monotypic.


W Mexico from S Sonora S to Chiapas, and on C plateau from Nayarit and Jalisco S to México, Morelos, Puebla, Veracruz and Oaxaca; also Yucatán Peninsula, and from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to C Nicaragua.

Descriptive notes

40–50 cm; male 174–207·6 g, female 162·8–192 g. Adult crested and long-tailed, streaked brown above, buff below, sides of neck and breast... read more


Call a soft “coo”, c. 1 note/second, repeated on descending scale.


Arid lowland scrub, arid montane scrub; dry open country with scattered brush, thorn scrub, grassy... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, mainly grasshoppers and caterpillars. Foraging behaviour much as for G. californianus.


Breeds in Mexico in Apr (Veracruz) and May–Jul (Oaxaca); Apr–May in Guatemala, Aug in El Salvador. Nest a bulky stick platform... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Few details available, but species is reckoned to be generally fairly common throughout its range; habitat not thought to be under serious threat at... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2020). Lesser Roadrunner (Geococcyx velox). 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 on 25 February 2020).