Skip to content

Please check our Hours & Admission page for changes to our operating hours.


Separating Roadrunner Fact From Ficton


When you think of a roadrunner, what comes to mind? Is it a large purple bird that plays tricks on an unsuspecting coyote?

CuriOdyssey is home to two greater roadrunners, Juniper and Sage. The mother/daughter pair came to CuriOdyssey from the Phoenix Zoo, and has been with us since late December 2011.

If everything you know about roadrunner is from a cartoon, you might be surprised when you see the two roadrunners in our walk-through aviary. In the meantime, learn how to separate roadrunner fact from fiction – and let us know what surprised you!

Fact or Fiction? Roadrunners are large blue and purple birds.
Fiction. While a certain childhood cartoon may lead you to believe that roadrunners are very tall, blue- and purple-colored creatures they are, in fact, not. The greater roadrunner grows to be just 10-12 inches tall. Adults have a slender, dark pointed bill, long legs, and a bushy crest on top of the head. The eyes are yellow with a bare patch of blue and red skin behind the eyes. The head, neck, back and wings are dark brown with white streaks, and the breast is mostly white.

Fact or Fiction? Roadrunners say, “meep-meep!” or even “beep-beep!”
Fiction. Roadrunners actually make a sound closer to “co-coo-coo-coo.” The alarm call for roadrunners is a clacking noise made by rapidly clicking their mandibles together. Listen to their call here.

Fact or Fiction? Roadrunner are fast moving birds.
Fact! While they might seem not move as quickly as the cartoon version, roadrunners can run up to speeds of 17 mph. They prefer to run or walk rather than fly.

Fact or Fiction? Coyotes are predators of roadrunners.
Fact! Other predators include large raptors, mountain lions, bobcats, raccoons, and skunks.

Fact or Fiction? Roadrunners live in the desert.
Fact! The roadrunner’s habitat is mostly open, flat areas, such as desert, scrub brush, and chaparral. They live throughout the southwestern U.S and northern Mexico, in the Sonoran, Mojave, Chihuahuan, and southern Great Basin deserts

Join the CuriOdyssey Community


1651 Coyote Point Drive
San Mateo, CA 94401
Ohlone Land Acknowledgement
[email protected]

CuriOdyssey is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Tax ID 94-1262434

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The gold standard for animal care and welfare.
ASTC Member. Association of Science and Technology Centers.
Scroll To Top