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Roadrunner - Where He Lives

Roadrunner - Where He Lives
Photo Information
Copyright: Jane Magen (jaycee) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-02-23
Categories: Birds
Exposure: f/4, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Where They Really Live [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-03-05 7:16
Viewed: 3470
Points: 72
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Greater Roadrunner

Related Species
Roadrunners are ground cuckoos, are any of about 15 species of birds constituting the subfamily Neomorphinae of the Cuckoo Family (Cuculidae), noted for terrestrial habits. There are 11 New World species, 3 of which lay their eggs in the nests of other birds.
Other ground cuckoos include the Morococcyx erythropygus, a species widespread in Central America and 5 species of Neomorphus, found from Costa Rica to Bolivia.Three species of the very large Carpococcyx, are found in Southeast Asia and acquire a length of 24 inches.

The legendary roadrunner is famous for its distinctive appearance, its ability to eat rattlesnakes and its preference for scooting across the American deserts, as popularized in Warner Bros. cartoons.
The roadrunner is a large, black-and-white, mottled ground bird with a distinctive head crest. It has strong feet, a long, white-tipped tail and an oversized bill.
It ranges in length from 20 to 24 inches from the tip of its tail to the end of its beak. It is a member of the Cuckoo family (Cuculidae), characterized by feet with 2 forward toes and 2 behind.
When the roadrunner senses danger or is traveling downhill, it flies, revealing short, rounded wings with a white crescent. But it cannot keep its large body airborne for more than a few seconds, and so prefers walking or running (up to 17 miles per hour) usually with a clownish gait.

The roadrunner is uniquely suited to a desert environment by a number of physiological and behavioral adaptations:
Its carnivorous habits offer it a large supply of very moist food.
It reabsorbs water from its feces before excretion.
A nasal gland eliminates excess salt, instead of using the urinary tract like most birds.
It reduces its activity 50% during the heat of midday.
Its extreme quickness allows it to snatch a humming bird or dragonfly from midair.

The roadrunner inhabits open, flat or rolling terrain with scattered cover of dry brush, chaparral or other desert scrub.

Food & Hunting
The roadrunner feeds almost exclusively on other animals, including insects, scorpions, lizards, snakes, rodents and other birds. Up to 10 % of its winter diet may consist of plant material due to the scarcity of desert animals at that time of the year.
Because of its lightening quickness, the roadrunner is one of the few animals that preys upon rattlesnakes. Using its wings like a matador's cape, it snaps up a coiled rattlesnake by the tail, cracks it like a whip and repeatedly slams its head against the ground till dead.
It then swallows its prey whole, but is often unable to swallow the entire length at one time. This does not stop the roadrunner from its normal routine. It will continue to meander about with the snake dangling from its mouth, consuming another inch or two as the snake slowly digests.

When spring arrives, the male roadrunner, in addition to acquiring food for himself, offers choice morsels to a female as an inducement to mating. He usually dances around her while she begs for food, then gives her the morsel after breeding briefly.
Both parents collect the small sticks used for building a shallow, saucer-like nest, but the female actually constructs it in a bush, cactus or small tree. She then lays from 2 to 12 white eggs over a period of 3 days, which results in staggered hatching. Incubation is from 18-20 days and is done by either parent, though preferably the male, because the nocturnally incubating males maintain normal body temperature.
The first to hatch often crowd out the late-arriving runts, which are sometimes eaten by the parents. Usually only 3 or 4 young are finally fledged from the nest after about 18 days. These remain near the adults for up to 2 more weeks before dispersing to the surrounding desert.
In the Sonoran and Mojave deserts of California where there is only one rainy season, roadrunners nest in spring, the only time there is abundant prey to raise a brood. In the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, they breed again in August or September after summer rains increase their food sources.

A roadrunner life does have its dangers. Roadrunners are occasionally preyed upon by hawks, house cats, raccoons, rat snakes, bullsnakes, skunks, and, coyotes eat nestlings and eggs. During the winter months, many succumb to freezing, icy weather.


-- A.R Royo

eqshannon, mariki, jusninasirun, Argus, uleko, Arjun, hester, Debz, Finland_in_Eton, boreocypriensis, Jamesp, CeltickRanger, nkasot, xTauruSx, Silvio2006, nglen, bahadir, Leace, warnzy, Luis52, NinaM, Adanac, fiyo, jcoowanitwong, smitha, zulfu, Alex99 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

These roadrunners make a desert image complete! Although the cactus alone would suffice, without the bird it would somehow be a bit less...I have truly not seen one quite as this before..the bird perhaps but not in its setting! Hence I have added it to my theme of Where they Really Live..

Hello Jane. Wonderful resemblance in a way between the roadrunner and that spiky cactus plant. Excellent sharpness and details under good lighting of natural environment. Regards. Jusni

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-03-05 8:27]

Hello Jane,
I like your Road-runner shots and to see one in its natural habitat is great.
Excellent composition with the cactuses and you coped well with the harsh lighting.
Thanks for sharing this marvel,

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-03-05 8:47]

Hello Jane,
I really like this bird and here it looks really good at some distance and in a natural environment. Great focus on the bird in profile and sharp details. Fine light and colours too and I really like the Cacti too!
Many thanks and cheers, Ulla

  • Great 
  • Arjun Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 358 W: 7 N: 1237] (7593)
  • [2008-03-05 9:01]

hi jane,
lovely picture, had never seen this bird before(except the cartoon program) :) .
lovely details and good compo,

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2008-03-05 9:13]

Hi Jane

I love seeing these roadrunners. To see him in his habitat is great. Wonderful collection of desert plants. Very nicely composed



  • Great 
  • Debz Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 505 W: 0 N: 847] (3307)
  • [2008-03-05 9:24]

Hi Jane, its great to see the Roadrunner again - and in its natural environment! Its good to see several types of cactus and the Roadrunner looks very content. Very well focused and nice and sharp, great light and great composition. Interesting note.

Lovely shot, well composed, great POV. DOF wide enough to include the desert and plants in the subject. Very nice detail and color. Catch light in the roadrunner's eye a nice feature. Well done.

TFS, Mish

Hello Jane,

wonderfull compositon, lovely pose, and good details of this beautiful roadrunner. I like to watch its cartoon:) whlile I was a child and even now:). TFS my friend!

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-03-05 10:06]

Hi Jane

Another superb shot - excellent POV with outstanding colours and detail. Well observed and captured.


hello Jane

superb shot of the Greater Roadrunner in his natural habitat,
lovely and a proud pose of the Roadrunner, excellent luminosity
of the image, excellent POV, framing, and DOF,
excellent sharpness and details of the plumage,
i love your framing Jane and i am happy that you didn't crop closer



Hi Jane,
Perfect shot! Excellent sharpness and very good colors. Well done! TFS.

Hello Jane,
We get to know the roadrunner through the famous cartoon series with a lot of fun in our younger days! but never seen a real one and now thank you for your sharing the actual one with it's natural environment, much appreciated for your effort!
a good image with excellent sharpness, real colour and details to know and view!
much appreciated

Hello Jane. Very good image. Wonderful composition. Excellent light. Well done. TFS. Regards,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-03-05 11:32]

Hi Jane. Firstly. great notes you have taken the time to write. This is a very good close up of the road runner in its home area. very good detail in the bird and plants. with good natural colours, well done TFS.

Hi Jane,
Magnificent shot! Really great! Excellent details. TFS.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-03-05 12:57]

Hello Jane,
Great photo of this Roadrunner in its natural environment. Beautiful light and natural colours. Good DOF, POV and composition. Excellent sharp details.

Hi Jane,

Thanks for showing this bird in his natural environment - his camouflage seems quite effective. Nice level of detail and light throughout the shot, and a nice composition. Really interesting shot to look at.


Splendida immagine, bellissima ambientazione, eccellenti dettagli e colori. Complimenti. Ciao Maurizio

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-03-05 16:30]

Hola Jane.
Let me tell You. To have one of this birds in my gallery is coming an obsession, they are many of them in the palces I use to take a photos, but I just can have a good one.
Great image, in his Natural place, a lot of desert plants. Good focus and sharpness.
Great work here Jane

  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-03-05 17:23]

How this road runner blends into the landscape, incredible. When the picture opened, I was so surprised to find the bird in the middle amidst cactus, and itself wearing feathers which look like cactus needles! Wow, very well seen Jane, I like it!


  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-03-05 20:08]

Hello Jane,
It's been a while since the last time I saw one of this
great POV, excellent capture.. well done


Hi Jane,

A good capture in an natural habitat.
Much detail on the Roadrunner and a good camouflage off the Roadrunner.
Further is these Roadrunner good sharp with exellent colors.

Regards Gert

Hi Jane, lovely roadrunner, remember me Beep Beep and Vilcoyote:), wonderful colors and splendid sharpness, great presentation of habitt and interesting note, very well done, ciao Silvio

Hello Jane,

I like very much this composition with all these cactus. Excellent POV, DOF and focus. Beautiful ligth and colours.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-03-06 1:32]

Great addition to Bob's theme!
I never knew there were so many Cacti where you live!
I wonder how many speeding Roadrunners have unluckily run into a Cactus! :-$

Great image anyhow.
Natural colours and great lighting.
Superb composition as well.
Sharp and detailed.
Well done Jane,


  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-03-06 4:14]

Hello Jane, Roadrunner and cactus, the perfect match! Well done on the composition and technique, very well done, thanks!


I always knew that roadrunners had an unfair advantage over the coyote. That is why they always won. Now I better understand why... the 11 new world species simply gang up on the coyote. LOL!!!

This picture is good because it shows how roadrunners generally like to hide out, just as it appears here, in desert undergrowth.

  • Great 
  • cako Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 485 W: 0 N: 772] (3395)
  • [2008-03-06 15:57]

Hi Jane
this is very nice image
have a nice day

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2008-03-06 16:50]

Hello Jane,
Great shot, very good POV and pose. Sharpness,details and colors are very nice.
Very well done .TFS..

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-03-06 19:10]

Hello Jane,
Fantastic image of this great species among some cacti. Great colors and sharpness, very well done Jane. Thank you for sharing.
Pts Tomorrow.

Hello Jane,
Wonderful picture of Roadrunner in natural environment. Sharp focus and well composed image. Also thanks for your informative note. WoW, this quick bird can swallow rattle snakes.

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  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-03-08 20:19]

Hello Jane

This is a beauty.The natural environment really enhances the shot.
The cacti really are beautiful,and the roadrunner is a big bonus.
Lovely focus and detail.The plumage shows well.
Very good eye contact.


Hi Jane,
Excellent shot of the road runner.Liked the POV, sharpness and details. Nice pose captured. My daughter, Meera, especially asks to tell you that she liked it very much. she also wants to know whether you have any pictures of RoadRunner in action.:) Thanks for sharing this nice picture Jane and thanks fr your well wishes on my 1st Anniversary picture.

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-03-09 8:41]

Hi Jane again,
Perfect composition and colours and good details,Good note. TFS.

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  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-03-09 9:32]

Hi Jane.
What a nice and rich of plenty attractive objects scene. I like wonderful strong sunlight and crisp sharpness of the image, terrific details and superb composition. Bravo. Perfect job and as always, nice note.

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