As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Fallen Somali Spy Drone Was Disguised as a Huge Bird

Turns out, biomimicry is a pretty good way of spying on people.

July 19, 2016

Most of the time when people ask if it’s a bird, a plane, or Superman, it’s just a plane. Sometimes, though, it’s a war-zone drone disguising itself with biomimicry.

A drone camouflaged as a large black bird fell out of the sky in Mogadishu, Somalia on May 1. No one is completely sure who it belongs to, or how it fell from the sky, but local news services point to Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency.

The drone’s design is remarkably lifelike — small propellers push the drone forward while the outer half of the wings maintain the illusion by flapping. It wouldn’t pass close inspection, but it’s far more likely to sneak overhead unnoticed than a military grade Reaper or Predator drone.

It’s not the first, and surely won’t be the last Mother Nature-inspired spy technology, because nature is the true OG of camouflage. Biodiversity has long served as inspiration for subterfuge, from the Greek’s Trojan Horse to this year’s GoatMan. The Trojan Horse wasn’t meant to be confused with an actual horse of course, and the only creatures GoatMan was trying to convince were goats, but it’s the same general concept: if you want success, emulate nature.

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