MAY 15, 2019
Renowned for their noiseless dive, the kingfisher's iconic beak-shape has inspired the design of high speed bullet trains. Now scientists have tested beak-shape among some of the birds' 114 species found world-wide, to assess which shape is the most hydrodynamic.
Avian biologist Dr. Kristen Crandell and third year undergraduate student, Rowan Howe, of Bangor University, created 3-D printed models of the beak shapes of several of the diving kingfisher species, at the University's Pontio Innovation Centre.
Renowned for their hydrodynamic splash and noise free dives, Kristen wanted to test the kingfisher beaks in the lab, and has come up with a top 10 list when it comes to the most efficient design. The lab tests measured how the speed of entry changed as the models hit the water, and found evidence that a longer, narrower shape was more efficient.
This also relates to other diving species such as Gannets, renowned for pulling their wings back and spearing the water with their whole body profile.