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More Information on Birds
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Roadrunner
Read-and-Answer Quiz
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The roadrunner (also called the Ground Cuckoo), is a fast-running terrestrial bird that lives in thorny scrub, sparse grasslands, and deserts of Mexico and the southwestern USA. The roadrunner can run at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour (24 km per hour). The roadrunner rarely flies and does not migrate. When it is in danger, it runs or crouches to hide. The scientific name of the roadrunner is Geococcyx californianus (genus and species).

Anatomy: The roadrunner is about 23 inches (58 cm) long. It has a shaggy crest on its head. The tail is long and narrow; it helps the roadrunner with balance and lets it turn quickly when running. The roadrunner's wings are short and rarely used; the legs are long and make this bird a fast runner. There are four toes on each foot; two toes face forwards and two face backwards. Males and females are similar in appearance. Roadrunners make rattling and cooing calls.

Diet: Roadrunners eat fruit and small animals, including small lizards, scorpions, spiders, insects, eggs, small snakes, and some small rodents.

Reproduction: The roadrunner is a type of cuckoo, but unlike many other cuckoos, it is not a nest parasite. It builds its cup-like nest in a thorn bush or a cactus. The female lays 3 to 8 white eggs.

Questions:
1. Do roadrunners fly much? _________________________

2. In what biomes does the roadrunner live? ____________________________

3. When in danger, a roadrunner will _________________________________

4. What do roadrunners eat? _________________________

5. Where do roadrunners build their nests? _____________________________



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