New Mexico State Bird

What Is the Official State Bird of New Mexico?

The official state bird of New Mexico is the Greater Roadrunner. This is a bird that a lot of people intrinsically associate with the desert because of its presence in cartoons. This is not an inaccurate description, as New Mexico is known for its rolling desert as well. The Greater Roadrunner is one of the most common sights in New Mexico, which is why the residents decided to select this bird as the official state bird.

What Does the Greater Roadrunner Look Like?

The Greater Roadrunner is one of the larger members of The Cuckoo family. It is a bird that spends most of its time on the ground. It is approximately two feet long, and it is known for its black and brown feathers. It also has lighter feathers on its throat. Many birds have chest feathers with dark stripes. Finally, the Greater Roadrunner also has very long legs and a very long tail. This makes the bird easy to spot. It is known for its yellow eyes, the crest that commonly dots its head, and the red and blue patch of skin on the side of the head. This colorful patch is usually associated with male birds, not female birds.

Why Did New Mexico Pick the Greater Roadrunner?

Many states wanted to pick a state bird that was representative of the state, and that is why New Mexico wanted to pick the Greater Roadrunner as well. New Mexico has a unique climate because the state is largely a giant desert. It is very hot and humid, so there are birds found in New Mexico that are simply not found in other parts of the country. That is the case with the Greater Roadrunner, which is one of the few birds that can actually thrive in the desert climate of New Mexico.

When Did New Mexico Pick the Greater Roadrunner?

In 1949, New Mexico was still relatively new to statehood. Therefore, it was a bit behind some of the other states in picking an official state bird. New Mexico did not decide to go with the Greater Roadrunner to be its official state bird until 1949. By that time, many other states had already picked a state bird, that nobody else had picked the Greater Roadrunner. This played a role in New Mexico deciding to go with the Greater Roadrunner.

What Does the Greater Roadrunner Eat?

One of the biggest reasons why residents in New Mexico decided to pick the Greater Roadrunner is that the bird eats a lot of animals that would otherwise be dangerous to people who live in the state. For example, some of the most common animals that the Greater Roadrunner eats include snakes, lizards, mice, spiders, and scorpions. Some of these animals are poisonous, making them dangerous to humans. Therefore, lots of people who live in New Mexico like to see the Greater Roadrunner because it eats a lot of these pests.

New Mexico state bird
Greater roadrunner
Scientific Name
Geococcyx californianus
Year Became Official