What do Roadrunners Eat? Here’s What Their Diet Look Like

What do Roadrunners Eat

Roadrunners are purple birds having a striking yellow beak and bright orange legs. However, these birds aren’t very colorful at all but they have brown and white striped feathers and a distinctive crest.

The adult roadrunner stands about two feet tall. They lack coloration and have lightning-fast speed.

Roadrunners have unique feeding habits and unusual adaptations for conserving water and staying warm during the winters. But what about the diet of roadrunners? 

So In this article, I’ll explain all the facts related to the diet of roadrunners in detail. 

What do roadrunners eat?

Roadrunners eat a wide variety of food and their diet consists of both meat and vegetation. They are not picky eaters and can eat whatever they find.

Their diet consists of small mammals, reptiles, rodents, insects, small birds, fruits, seeds, and bits of vegetation too.

These birds usually prefer to catch and kill live prey but they can also eat carrion. However, they don’t snatch eggs and baby birds out of their nest. 

Are roadrunners carnivores?

Roadrunners are not carnivores. Yes, they do eat meat but they also prefer vegetation. They are omnivorous birds which means that they consume both vegetation and meat.

During the summer season, the diet of the roadrunners consists of animals only while in winter they prefer fruits, seeds, and other plants due to the lack of prey available. 

Do roadrunners eat snakes?

Roadrunners can eat a wide variety of small reptiles including snakes. They will eat a snake that is large to swallow and digest immediately.

As snakes digests in the stomach, the roadrunner swallows the remainder of the snake an inch or two until it gets completely consumed. 

How do roadrunners eat and kill rattlesnakes?

Roadrunners usually hunt the rattlesnakes by capturing and killing them in teams. One roadrunner distracts the rattlesnakes by jumping up and down while the other roadrunner grabs the head of the rattlesnake to render it harmless.

They bang the snake against the rocks and kills it off. Roadrunners can easily hunt other venomous reptiles without injury. 

Do roadrunners eat mice?

Roadrunners can eat all sorts of small rodents and including mice as well. They use their running speed to capture mice and then they are banged on a rock to kill and break their bones.

This helps the roadrunners to easily swallow and digest the prey. 

What do baby roadrunners eat?

Both the parents of baby roadrunners fed their babies for 30 to 40 days after leaving the nest. Initially, they provide soft insects or partially digested food to their babies.

Gradually, they introduce them to solid food and freshly killed prey is offered to the babies. The baby roadrunners stay with their parents till the time they learn to hunt on their own.

The baby roadrunners become able to catch prey at the age of three weeks after hatching. 

Do roadrunners eat rabbits?

Roadrunners are opportunistic birds and can eat whatever they can find to be a part of their meal. It may include rabbits, but generally, they prefer baby or juvenile rabbits as they are smaller and easy to catch. 

Do roadrunners eat scorpions?

Roadrunners can eat scorpions even without being affected by their venom. They grab their prey and smash it against a rock to kill it before eating. 

Do roadrunners eat lizards?

Lizards constitute a tasty meal for roadrunners. The Roadrunners beat the lizard against a rock to kill it before eating it. 

Do roadrunners eat other birds?

Yes, roadrunners eat small birds but they have an unusual way of catching them. Roadrunners are good at jumping and they leap straight up to catch the small birds from the air.

Generally, they prefer hummingbirds or other birds when opportunities arise. Even roadrunners also have limited ability to fly and do not chase birds in flight. 

How do roadrunners survive in the desert?

During the cold nights in the desert, roadrunners enter a state called torpor which is similar to the state of hibernation.

This state allows their body temperature to drop below the normal level and conserve energy. When the sun rises and the temperature begins to rise, they lie in the sun with their feathers raised.

This allows the warm sun rays to reach their skin and warm up the body. During the winter, the roadrunner takes sunbathes several times a day to keep their body warm. 

What do roadrunners eat in the winter?

During the winter, the diet of the roadrunners usually doesn’t change a lot. But they do prefer to eat more seeds and fruits to compensate for the availability of less prey. Their winter diet is of about 10 percent vegetation. 

How do roadrunners get water?

Roadrunners get most of their water from the food they eat. But they drink water whenever it is available.

They have special salt glands located near their eyes. This allows them to excrete extra salts from the body and preserve water. 

Can a roadrunner outrun a coyote?

The coyote is considered a significant predator of the roadrunner. No, a roadrunner cannot outrun a coyote. The top speed of the roadrunner is 25 mph while the speed of the coyote is 40 to 45 mph.

The roadrunner may outmaneuver a coyote as he can slip into areas too large for the coyote and can also take a short flight to a protected height. 


Roadrunners are omnivorous birds that are not very picky eaters. They can feed on both vegetation and meat.

Even they can easily eat reptiles and snakes. They generally catch their prey and smash them on the rock to kill them before consuming them.

At last, I hope this article may have helped you in some ways. Thank You For Reading!

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