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Types of Birds
The Cuckoos (Cuculidae) are a diverse family of birds, with species found on ever continent except Antarctica.
The practice of brood parasitism among Cuculidae species has made them the object of ornithological attention for thousands of years.
In Book 9 (Chapter XX) of the History of Animals, Aristotle notes:
"The cuckoo, as it has been already observed, makes no nest, but lays its eggs in the nests of other birds, especially in that of the phaps, and in those of the sparrow and lark on the ground, and in the nest of the chloris in trees."
Most species are arboreal. Some, such as the Greater Roadrunner, are terrestrial (Geococcyx californianus).
The Greater roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) is one of five Cuculidae species native to the United States. While most people associate it with the scrub lands of the Southwest, its range extends to the open grasslands and deserts of California, east to Louisiana.
They are omnivores, eating fruits, seeds, insects, rodents and reptiles in their territory.
The name roadrunner comes from the bird's swiftness of foot. For short distances they can sprint between fifteen and twenty miles per hour, depending on which source you read.
When you come upon them standing still, they measure about two feet from head to tail.
Roadrunners also have a limited flying ability, and they use it for building above ground nests in trees, shrubs and cacti.
In addition to its legendary cartoon predator the coyote, Roadrunners are also threatened by snakes and hawks, which target their eggs and young.
The Roadrunner is the official state bird of New Mexico.
© 2009 Patricia A. Michaels