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Nostril cone allows air passage: peregrine falcon


Peregrine falcon at Bharatpur / J.M.Garg / LicenseCC-by-sa - Attribution Share Alike

Cone in peregrine falcon nostril allows air to enter by disrupting airflow.

"Falcons are known for their high speed flight, and the Peregrine is thought to be the fastest bird, accurately clocked at 90 meters per second. A contender is the Prairie Falcon. Incidentally, in the making of airplanes, especially jets, humans came onto a problem. As planes got faster and faster, the engines started choking out at a certain speed. It seems that the air, instead of going into the cowl of the engine, encountered a wall of still air and engine cowl and so split and went around the engine. Puzzled, the researchers wondered how the falcons could still breathe at such incredible speeds. Looking at the falcon's nostrils, they found the answer. In the opening of the nostril is a small cone that protrudes a bit. Fashioning a similar cone in the opening of the jet engine, they discovered that the air could pass into the engine even at great speed. Once again a human invention is preceded by an animal adaptation." (Chaffee Zoo 2007)

"The air pressure from a 200 mph (320 km/h) dive could possibly damage a bird's lungs, but small bony tubercles in a falcon's nostrils guide the shock waves of the air entering the nostrils (compare intake ramps and inlet cones of jet engines), enabling the bird to breathe more easily while diving by reducing the change in air pressure." (Wikipedia 2008)
About the inspiring organism
Med_faucon_pelerin_7_mai Peregrine Falcon
Falco peregrinus TunStall, 1771
Common name: Peregrine falcon

Habitat(s): Rocky Areas, Wetlands
Learn more at
Some organism data provided by: ITIS: The Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Threat Categories LONG_LC IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Used to allow air to enter airplane engine cowls at high speeds.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Aviation


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