These birds get their name from their habit of running in front of cars and suddenly darting off into the scrub. Although they are the fastest runners of any flying bird, they’re really not that quick. The greater roadrunner can only reach a top speed of 26mph. Compare this with the 43mph sprint speed of a coyote and it’s obvious that cartoon logic just doesn’t hold up.
Roadrunners hunt for insects and lizards by foraging on the ground or by leaping to catch them in the air. Their main predators are hawks, falcons and domestic cats. Although not as common, coyotes (sans Acme Earthquake Pills) do hunt roadrunners on occasion. In recent years the greater roadrunner has expanded its range north and east into the southern American plains. As is often the case with common animals, urban sprawl and higher road traffic is the number one danger facing the roadrunner.