The popular bird from the Warner Bros., the roadrunner is shown a little different from what it is in real life. It does not look exactly like it is shown in the cartoon. Neither does it make a “meep” sound nor is it faster than the coyote.
Here we have listed some roadrunner facts for kids to clear the myths around this wild bird.
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Roadrunners for Kids
If your kids are a fan of the Looney Tunes character “The roadrunner”, you can enlighten them more about this bird. Surely the cartoon does not do justice to the facts related to the bird.
You can get to know some interesting facts about the bird in this article. And then you can help your kids have some knowledge about the roadrunners too.
1. They justify their name
The roadrunners are called so because they run on ground level and are really fast runners. They belong to the cuckoo family. They can fly but they can not fly high or for long. They are weak in the air and gets tired easily.
They prefer to run and sprint on the land. They often run to catch their prey. They have a top speed of 20 miles per hour. They can fly occasionally to jump and catch their prey.
2. Roadrunners are omnivorous
They are known for eating both plants and animals. They can feed on simply anything they find around. From reptiles, lizards, insects, rodents, and small mammals, they can eat anything.
They also eat other birds and their eggs, caterpillars, centipedes, snails, spiders, and scorpions. They are fast birds that can hunt down a rattlesnake. They also eat fruits and seeds.
3. Roadrunners do not make good pets
Roadrunners are wild birds. The only reason they can be seen around the human habitats is that they would be searching for food. They love solitude. They only prefer the company of their partner with whom they mate for life.
They do not make good pets. They do not like to be in human company and can attack them if threatened. It is even illegal to have one as a pet in most places.
4. They are not fast as coyotes
As portrait in the cartoon, roadrunners are not actually as fast as the coyotes. Their top average speed is 20 miles per hour and the average speed of the coyote is 43 miles per hour which is almost double that of the roadrunners.
In case you are interested to know more about coyotes, check out our article on the same here- 13 Amazing Coyote Facts for Kids
But the Roadrunners are fast enough to catch their prey on the ground. As they are weak in flight, they are strong in running.
5. Both the parents take care of their babies
The roadrunners make nests out of sticks and leaves. A single nest contains 2 – 6 white colored eggs. Both the male and the female parents take turns to take care of the eggs until they hatch. They feed the hatchlings once they come out of the eggs.
The baby roadrunners stay under the care of the parents until they are 2 to 3 weeks old. After that, they leave the nest and never come back.
6. The lesser Roadrunners are shy
The greater roadrunners can adapt to the human habitats and changes caused due to human intervention. Whereas the lesser roadrunners found in Mexico and Central America are very shy. They prefer to steer clear from the human habitats and live in deep woods.
The greater roadrunners on the other hand can enter a human habitat in search of food. The habitats of these birds are being destroyed due to human development. Their population is also decreasing due to illegal hunting.
7. Roadrunners are naughty birds
In certain places, the roadrunners are seen as problematic birds. They can show up from nowhere into the human habitats, often creating chaos, and then again go back into the woods. They often do this in search of food as human habitats provide them with enough food supply.
Some people keep food for them at feeding stations as well. Apart from that, they prefer solitary in wilds only.
8. They are monogamous birds
The roadrunners are monogamous birds. They live in pairs or they live alone. They mate for life with a single partner. The females lay 3 – 10 eggs per clutch. They take care of the eggs together. The eggs hatch after around 20 days.
The males take care of the nest at night and the females during the daytime. They nourish and feed the hatchlings together until they grow and leave.
9. They live in dry areas
The Roadrunners are found mostly in the desert. They prefer to live on barren lands such as grasslands, canyons, open fields, and even agricultural areas. Wherever they can find their prey easily, they live nearby.
Since they live in water-scarce lands, they complete their moisture needs from the tissues and blood of their prey.
10. They are territorial
The roadrunners prefer to live alone or in pairs. They are extra protective of their territories. They are very quick to attack anyone intruding upon their boundaries.
They can be seen patrolling their territory and chase away any bird or animal that tries to enter their nesting grounds.
11. The state bird of New Mexico
The ancient people and the indigenous population of Mexico considered the great roadrunners as lucky. They also considered them as symbols of strength, speed, courage, and endurance.
Hence, it got the honor of becoming the state bird of New Mexico. Roadrunners are believed to show the path to the lost and their references are found in many folklores and legends.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Roadrunner is called so because even if it is a bird, it can not fly very high or far. It prefers to walk and run on the ground surface. It sprints really fast to catch its prey.
The Roadrunner is a small speedy bird with a long tail. It belongs to the cuckoo family of birds.
There are two types of roadrunners. The Greater Roadrunner is found in the southwestern United States. And the Lesser Roadrunner is found mainly in Mexico and Central America.
The roadrunners are omnivorous. Starting from plants, grass, fruits and nuts, they can eat reptiles, other birds, insects, small mammals, scorpions, and more. In deserts, they prefer eating berries, milkweed, and grass which has high water content in them.
They are carnivorous birds and do eat snakes and other reptiles.
The baby roadrunners have the same diet as that the adult roadrunners. They eat lizards, spiders, reptiles, and any kind of meat or plant they can find around. The parents of the baby roadrunners feed them after they hatch from the eggs.
They often attack other birds and mammals at feeding stations to compete for food.
They prefer dry areas with low rainfall like deserts, grasslands, scrublands, and the outskirts of woodland. They are found in the United States, Mexico, and Central America.
The adult roadrunners can be 20 – 24 inches in body length. They can stand 10 – 12 inches tall. They have a wingspan of 17 – 24 inches
The roadrunners sleep on trees at night.
The sprinting speed of the roadrunners, on average, is 20 miles per hour. The fastest speed recorded is 26 miles per hour.
A roadrunner can be faster than a coyote only in cartoons. In real life, they can not outrun coyotes even with their top running speed.
They can fly but only short distances. They are terrestrial birds and prefer to walk and run whenever possible. They are weak in the air.
Roadrunners can live up to 7 to 8 years.
They are very quick, smart, and intelligent birds.
Roadrunners are not very friendly towards humans. They are wild birds and are difficult to be petted. It is even illegal to own one in certain places.
The roadrunners have not been listed as endangered yet. But there has been a significant drop in their population in California.
These were some interesting roadrunner facts for kids. We hope that you had a good time reading the article. Now you can go ahead and share the knowledge with your little ones.