Greater Roadrunner

Geococcyx californianus Order: Cuculiformes Family: Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
Geococcyx californianus Order: Cuculiformes Family: Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

This extraordinary and splendid bird is ever so much more than a fun cartoon character. Despite its habit of grabbing hummingbirds at feeding stations, and even at least once flycatching—taking off and grabbing a hummingbird on the wing!—seeing a roadrunner is always thrilling.

Even beyond its place in Saturday morning cartoons of old, it holds a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records:

Roadrunner: Fastest running flying bird. The fastest running bird in the world is the flightless ostrich, but the fastest-running flying bird is the North American roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), a predominantly ground-dwelling species of cuckoo native to the southwestern USA. When pursued by a car, it has been clocked at a highly impressive 42 km/hr (26 mph) over a short distance – a speed that even its famous cartoon counterpart would struggle to emulate!

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