No wonder it fell to Roadrunner to face off with Wylie Coyote. Comic, daring and yes, even brutal, the Greater Roadrunner is not your average bird. Slender and dramatic he is all speed and flash, as he cocks his long tail and ruffs his shaggy crest of head feathers. In great bursts of speed (15 mph!) he runs down his prey of lizards, insects and snakes. Even rodents and small rabbits may fall to a swift blow to the neck from the long powerful beak of Roadrunner. Reptiles are more like to be beaten to death, but all prey is bashed repeatedly on the hard ground to break up bones for easier swallowing. Roadrunner will even take on a rattlesnake. The bird mesmerizes the rattlesnake with the tips of its wings, casting them about to confuse the snake. Two Roadrunners will also work together to bring down a rattler.
Roadrunners build nest platforms in cactus and lower tree branches. The good-sized nests are built with thorny sticks and lined with leaves, grass, feathers and sometimes snakeskin. Three to six eggs are laid and both parents care for the young. If food is scarce the most vulnerable chicks may become food for the rest.