Barry Kent MacKayArt by Barry Kent MacKay
Art and Photo Presentation

In this section are copies of original works of art. All of them are dedicated to helping us live according to unconditional love and compassion, which is the foundation of our peaceful means of bringing true and lasting peace to all of God's creatures, whether they are human beings or other animals.

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)

Greater Roadrunner
(Artwork - 143)
Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)

There are nearly 130 species of cuckoo world-wide (with species found on every continent except Antarctica, with most concentrated in the tropics and subtropics) and itís a shame the family name has become associated with negative traits such as goofiness, and, of course, laying their eggs in the nests of other species, something most species do not do. As a group I find them fascinating to observe, and none more so than the Greater Roadrunner, native to the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. In common with other members of the family, its feet have two toes pointing forward and two back. The brown and buff pattern of streaking help the bird to be less visible in most of the arid environment it inhabits. But it is also an alert, curious bird with the ability to run quickly, although also capable of flight. Itís been reported to run faster than 40 klm per hour (about 26 mph).

These birds are eclectic hunters, consuming lizards, spiders (including tarantulas and black widows), scorpions, small rodents and birds, and different snakes, including venomous species. They will grab a baby rattlesnake by the head and literally thrash it to death, then swallow down the battered body. Iíve shown the bird curious about a Desert Tortoise (Gopherus morafkai), much too large to be considered a prey item.

Monogamous, the Greater Roadrunner may have the same mate for several seasons, with the male bringing the nesting materials to the female to construct the nest, often in the interior of a cactus thicket, like the Opuntia I have shown in the painting. Painted approximately life size in acrylics on wood panel, 24 by 14 inches.

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Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
Barry describes himself as a Canadian artist/writer/naturalist.
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