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Kids' Inquiry of Diverse Species

Local animals in this group:

cuckoos, roadrunners, and relatives


Most cuckoos are relatively large, blue jay sized birds, with long tails, strong feet, and strongly built bills. Cuckoos generally eat insects, often specializing on hairy caterpillars, which most other birds avoid. Also included in the cuckoo family are the two American roadrunner species. Roadrunners were popularized in Looney Tunes cartoons and are large birds of arid, southwestern North America that run very quickly on the ground instead of flying. Some Old World species are nest parasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other birds, which then care for the cuckoo young instead of their own.

University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

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. "Cuculidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 16, 2024 at

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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