Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus
This bird is in the same family, Cuculidae, as the three North American cuckoos, but it subsists on a very different diet: lizards and snakes. For pure observation entertainment, the Greater Roadrunner may very well be Pinnacles’ ounce-for-ounce champion. Look for this resident bird and its characteristic shaggy crest and long tail on, well, the paved roads leading to both the East Side and West Side entrances, fence boundaries, and open areas. If you’re fortunate, you’ll see a roadrunner stalking prey, then dash off after it. During the breeding season, listen for its call, which resembles a whimpering dog.
Diet: Lizards, snakes (including rattlesnakes!), but also insects, spiders, rodents.
Wingspan: 22” Length: 23”
Did you know? Despite the ability to fly, a Greater Roadrunner will run after its prey and can reach speeds close to 19 mph. The bird also has its own version of a solar panel, turning its back to the sun to absorb solar energy, made more efficient by exposing the black skin on its back.
Did You Know?
The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail runs 1200 miles from Arizona to central California, passing close to Pinnacles National Park at the town of San Juan Bautista. Explore the trail by foot, or view the Anza Trail Guide online for more information. More...