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Beak protects during dives: cape gannet


Cape gannet / Percita Ditt.. / LicenseCC-by-sa - Attribution Share Alike

The beak of a gannet allows it to dive deeply at high speed because it lacks external nostrils.

"Many species of birds live largely or entirely on fish, and they tend to have long, strong, dagger-like beaks with which to spear their prey. The gannet is a coastal bird that flies over the sea searching for fish, then plummets into the water to spear them. Its beak is a similar shape to that of the kingfisher, which hunts in the same way over fresh water; but perhaps because of the depth and speed of the gannet's dive, its beak has no external nostrils into which the water might be forced." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:150, 155)
About the inspiring organism
Med_2505159940_ced6c75d96_o Cape Gannet
Morus capensis (Lichtenstein, 1823)

Habitat(s): Marine Coastal/Supratidal, Marine Neritic, Marine Oceanic
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_VU IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Public transportation systems that function well and efficiently at high speeds, small planes designed to make safe emergency landings in water, water storage tanks and packaging designs that resist leakage.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Transportation, aviation safety, water storage, packaging

Foy S; Oxford Scientific Films. 1982. The Grand Design: Form and Colour in Animals. Lingfield, Surrey, U.K.: BLA Publishing Limited for J.M.Dent & Sons Ltd, Aldine House, London. 238 p.
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