(EnviroNews World News) — Well, the header on this story pretty much says it all. It’s hard to imagine a bird, weighing less than one pound, and having legs only a few inches long, could either keep up with, or even beat Usain Bolt, the Jamaican track-and-field sprint phoneme in a footrace — but it’s true.
Though the roadrunner’s top speed is frequently reported as 20-miles-per-hour, a speed that Bolt could easily beat, it has been clocked at faster speeds, and reportedly, as fast as 26-miles-per-hour — and that speed puts it in a league of its own, and distinguishes the roadrunner as the fastest running bird on earth, amongst birds that can also fly.
The greater roadrunner, or Geococcyx californianus, as it is scientifically known, resides in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico — and although it can fly, it seems to have a preference for getting around on two feet instead.
Roadrunners are so skilled on their feet as a matter of fact that there is little that they can’t catch. The bird has a very diverse diet and consumes myriad small creatures such as spiders (including black widows), insects, scorpions, tarantulas, mice, and other birds. But the roadrunner’s meal of choice seems to be lizards and small snakes, including juvenile rattlesnakes, which it often catches in its beak and bangs repeatedly against the ground until immobilized.
When we heard these birds had been reportedly clocked at a blistering 26-miles-per-hour, we were amazed. Think about it: A cheetah runs up to 75 miles per hour, but on four comparatively huge, muscular legs — and not to mention with the super-strength inherent to cats. An ostrich, another two-legged sprinting bird, can get up to about 45-miles-per-hour — but an ostrich’s legs are large and powerful — and let’s face it, the tiny roadrunner barely makes it past the ostrich’s ankle! And last but not least, Usain Bolt, the fastest man in human history. He’s been clocked at speeds of over 27-miles-per hour, but he’s certainly got some long and muscular legs.
When comparing the legs on all those aforementioned creatures to the tiny little short sticks propelling the roadrunner down the trail, one is left to wonder how such a top speed is even possible with the roadrunner’s physical attributes.
Some might say Bolt has got the tiny feathered fella beat with his one-mile-per-hour advantage, but we’re not convinced. First, find the fastest roadrunner in the entire species, give that bird a little training, spiky track shoes, some supplements, and extra adrenaline like Bolt gets from an Olympic 100 meter final, and we think the roadrunner might just stun the world and come out on top — smashing Usain Bolt’s 9.58 second 100-meter world record in the process. Ya’ never know. The roadrunner vs Usain Bolt. Just think of it. Now that’s a match race we would really, REALLY like to see!
The entertaining and funny video below shows the roadrunner in top form, burning up the blacktop in an effort to run down any little critter in site.