Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner
Greater Roadrunner

©NPS/Carlo Arreglo

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.

Last updated: September 3, 2013

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

5000 East Entrance Road
Paicines, CA 95043


831 389-4486
Please call the number above for all park related inquiries. For camping questions contact the Pinnacles Campground at (831) 200-1722. For the park book store, please call (831) 389-4485.

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