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Lesser Roadrunner - BirdForum Opus

Photo by gatafrancesca
Santa Elena, Yucatán, Mexico, February 2006
Geococcyx velox


48cm. A crested and long-tailed Ground Cuckoo.

  • Streaked brown above
  • Buff underparts with sides of neck and breast streaked
  • Tan undertail-coverts, darker than belly
  • Blue bare skin behind eye, extending back to red patch
  • Yellow to brown eye

Sexes similar. Juveniles have buff feather tips above and dark spots (instead of streaks) on breast.


Found in western and southern Mexico and from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to central Nicaragua.
Fairly common in its range.


This is a monotypic species.


Lives in arid lowland and montane scrub, in dry open country with scattered brush, thorn scrub, grassy and lightly wooded hillsides and farmland.
From sea-level up to 2800 m, sometimes up to 3000m.



Feeds on insects, mainly grasshoppers and caterpillars. Foraging behaviour like Greater Roadrunner.


Breeding season in April (Veracruz), May to July (Oaxaca), April to May in Guatemala and August in El Salvador. The nest is a bulky stick platform placed in a bushy tree, a thorn bush or in the centre of a cactus thicket. Lays 2 to 3, sometimes 4 eggs.


A resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2013. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.8., with updates to August 2013. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334221

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