How Fast Does a Roadrunner Run?


If your familiarity with the roadrunner is limited chiefly to a popular Warner Brothers cartoon, you're not alone. The bird with the genus and species name Geococcyx californius is a poor flier, at best, but can cover ground with startling speed for an animal that grows to only about two feet in length.

General Characteristics

  • The roadrunner's habitat includes mostly dry areas and ranges from the western and south-central United States to Mexico. It has black and brown feathers and yellow eyes, and boasts a characteristic crest on its head. It is an omnivore, feasting on small reptiles, spiders, fruits, berries and even other birds.

Running Speed

  • The roadrunner can reach a top speed of about 20 miles an hour. This approximates the average speed of a world-class, human 400-meter runner. For reference, a coyote can run over 40 miles an hour. A roadrunner, however, can take evasive action by zigzagging without significantly losing speed.


  • Photo Credit sekarb/iStock/Getty Images
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