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Greater roadrunner

Geococcyx californianus

Greater roadrunner at Paignton Zoo
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Birds
Order: Cuculiformes
Family: Cuculidae

We are the only zoo in the UK to house greater roadrunners. They live near the Avian Breeding Centre.

Beep beep! The greater roadrunner lives in dry scrubland areas of northern Mexico and southwestern USA.

They eat small animals, including insects, scorpions, rodents and reptiles.

Interesting facts!

  • The greater roadrunner’s scientific name means ‘Californian earth cuckoo’!
  • Although they are able to fly, they spend most of their time on the ground, clocking speeds of up to 26mph.
  • Roadrunners form monogamous pair bonds, and the male and female birds work together to build the nest.


Other than ACME rockets and persistent coyotes, the main threats to wild roadrunners are habitat loss and predation by domestic cats.

Although their numbers have declined in recent years in some areas, roadrunners are currently considered to be Least Concern and are doing well in the wild.