Saturday, January 3, 2009

Roadrunners aka Clowns of the Desert

It seems fitting that roadrunners (Geococcyx californianus) belong to the cuckoo family. They are rather clown like, with colorful face markings of blue and orange bare skin patches, behind their yellow eyes. The way they raise and lower their long tails and shaggy head crests is a bit quirky. And their gait looks clumsy when they use their tails as rudders for zigzagging and making u-turns.

Here is a roadrunner in my front yard near Sabino Canyon. Notice the crest and tail are lowered.

Now the bird raises its crest and tail.

Getting in position to run, the roadrunner's head
and tail are more parallel to the ground.
A forest ranger at Sabino Canyon pointed out the iridescent colors on the roadrunner's tail. Click the picture below to enlarge for a closer look at the green and blue tail feathers shimmering in the sunlight.


pinkpackrat said...

love the roadrunner pix:-)

BC Doan said...

Great pictures of the roadrunner!