Chapparal Cock Or Roadrunner

23rd December 2010

The second, a larger bird, inhabits New Mexico and the adjacent part of the United States of America, and, under the name of Saurothera californiana, was described by Lesson (Compl. Buffon, vi. p. 420) as one of the most interesting discoveries of (then) modern times. This bird is the Greater Roadrunner, (its latin scientific name now being Geococcyx californianus)

The habits of both seem to be very similar and very remarkable.They have short wings, and seldom fly unless suddenly surprised, but use their long legs to run with great speed, bearing their lengthy tail erect. Their feet have two toes at the front and two pointing behind (known as zygodactyl feet).

Like others of their Family in the New World they build their own nests, though clumsily, and lay therein from two to four white eggs. When tamed, as these birds often have been, they become expert mousers, but are so mischievous, says Mr. Dresser (Ibis, 1865, p. 467), as hardly to be suffered in a house. The name Paisano (countryman) by which this species is known in some districts is said to be a corruption of Faisan (Pheasant).  The osteology of the species was minutely described by Dr. Shufeldt (Journ. Anat. and Physiol. xx pages 246-266, pls. vii-ix and xxi. pages 101-102).

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