Geococcyx californianus conklingi Howard, 1931

Conkling's roadrunner, Conkling's greater roadrunner



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Geococcyx conklingi Howard, 1931


Conkling's Roadrunner was originally described as a full species by (Howard, 1931). However, it was downgraded to subspecific status by (Harris & Crews, 1983) on account of its slight morphological differences, mainly only maximum size, which do not warrant full species status.


Conservation Status


Last record: Holocene



New Mexico & Texas, USA and Mexico


State records for the USA, plus Mexico:

Arizona (Carpenter & Mead, 2003)

Mexico (Miller, 1943)

New Mexico (Howard 1931, 1971)

Texas (Gehlbach & Holman, 1974)


So far remains have been excavated from Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, USA as well as Mexico, indicating that it had a geographically restricted range which was largely sympatric with that of the extant Californian (or Greater) Roadrunner (G. c. californianus). This is rather unusual if G. californianus conklingi is a palaeosubspecies of the living G. c. californianus. But it accords well with (Harris & Crews, 1983) since they would have same adaptations (being differentiated only by size), and so they would inhabit roughly the same sorts of habitats.


Biology & Ecology




UTEP 21-69 (cranium)

KCSP-128 (right femur)






Original scientific description:

Howard, Hildegarde. (1931). A new species of road-runner from Quaternary cave deposits in New Mexico. Condor 33(5): 206-209.


Other references:

Carpenter, Mary C. and Mead, Jim I. (2003). Late Pleistocene Roadrunner (Geococcyx) from Kartchner Caverns State Park, southeastern Arizona. The Southwestern Naturalist 48(3): 402-410. [Abstract]

Casto, S. D. (2002). Extinct and extirpated birds of Texas. Bulletin of the Texas Ornithological Society 35: 17-24.

Gehlbach, F. R. and Holman, J. A. (1974). Paleoecology of amphibians and reptiles from Pratt Cave, Guadelupe Mountains National Park, Texas. Southwestern Nat. 19: 191-198.

Harris, Arthur H. (1987). Reconstruction of Mid Wisconsin Environments in Southern New Mexico. National Geographic Research 3(2): 142-151.

Harris, A. H. 1989. The New Mexican late Wisconsin—east versus west. National Geographic Research 5:205-217.

Harris, Arthur H. (1993). Quaternary vertebrates of New Mexico, pp. 179-197. In: Vertebrate Paleontology in New Mexico, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, Bulletin 2:i-vii, 1-338.

Harris, A. H. 2003. The Pleistocene vertebrate fauna from Pendejo Cave. Pp. 36-65, in Pendejo Cave (R. S. MacNeish and J. G. Libby, eds.), University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 526 pp.

Harris, Arthur H. and Crews, C. R. (1982). Conkling roadrunner—a subspecies of the California roadrunner? New Mexico Journal of Science 22(1): 50. [abstract only]

Harris, Arthur H. and Crews, C. R. (1983). Conkling's roadrunner—a subspecies of the California roadrunner? Southwestern Naturalist 28(4): 407-412.

Howard, Hildegarde. (1971). Quaternary avian remains from Dark Canyon Cave, New Mexico. Condor 73: 237-240.

Howard, H., and A. H. Miller. 1933. Bird remains from cave deposits in New Mexico. Condor 35:15-18.

Miller, L. (1943). The Pleistocene birds of San Josecito cavern, Mexico. Univ. California Publ. Zool. 47: 143-168.

Rea, A. M. (1980). Late Pleistocene and Holocene turkeys in the Southwest. Contrib. Sci. Nat. Hist. Mus. Los Angeles Co. 330: 209-224.

Steadman, David W. et al. (1994). New Information on the Late Pleistocene Birds from San Josecito Cave, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Condor 96(3): 577-589.


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