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Darlings of the American Deserts: Photos of the Greater Roadrunner

Cartoons, not real life

Greater Roadrunner

(Image credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher)

In parts of the West, the greater roadrunner is known as a Chaparral Cock. They became quite famous when on Sept. 16, 1949, they first appeared with the cartoon character Wile E. Coyote in a series of Warner Brothers cartoons. Real roadrunners do not make a "beep-beep" call, but rather a series of 6 to 9 dove-like coos that drop in pitch. When irritated, they will make a clattering sound by rolling their mandibles together. These birds, with all their unique looks and behaviors, truly add much to the legends, lore and entertainment of the great American West.