Beep Beep! Run to WCS’s Queens Zoo to See the Newest Avian Addition: A Greater Roadrunner

Flushing, N.Y. – June 4, 2012 – Look out Wile E. Coyote – the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo is now home to a greater roadrunner, an avian species known for having the fastest running speed of any flighted bird.

“It is very exciting to announce the arrival of this amazing animal," said Scott Silver, Director of the Queens Zoo. “This is a very popular exhibit here at the zoo for the many people who grew up watching the famous Roadrunner cartoon. Seeing an actual
roadrunner in person is an exciting and educational experience.”

The yet-unnamed bird is a male. He’s small with a long tail, and has natural-colored black, brown and white plumage that camouflages him into the environment. This trait comes in handy when hiding from predators in the wild.

The roadrunner is a representative species of the American desert Southwest, where they are abundant

Silver added: “The only place to see a roadrunner in New York City is at the Queens Zoo.”

They don’t exactly go “beep beep!” but roadrunners are known to make a variety of sounds, which include staccato, cooing, and rattle calls. Each call is made for a specific reason, such as attracting a mate or warning others of potential danger.

Roadrunners can reach an impressive running speed of up to 25 miles per hour. As their name implies, they’ve been known to run quickly on roads in the Southwest, away from moving vehicles. They are carnivorous birds, and as a form of enrichment, keepers often hide food throughout the exhibit to encourage foraging, just as they would in their natural habitat. This helps keep the animals active and healthy.

WCS is a world leader in conservation, conducting field projects around the world, including areas of the American Southwest and Mexico where the roadrunner is native.

The Queens Zoo roadrunner can be seen in the thick-billed parrot exhibit. The zoo is also home to coyotes. Their exhibit is located on the Wild Side section of the zoo.

Barbara Russo - 718-265-3428; 917-494-5493;
Max Pulsinelli - 718-220-5182;
Steve Fairchild – 718-220-5189;

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

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