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Red-necked Phalarope Feeding Behavior

This movie shows red-necked phalarope feeding behavior. The phalarope, indigenous to western North America, swims in circles to create a vortex to bring small crustaceans to the surface. The bird then uses its beak to draw food-rich water into its mouth, but until now, no one knew how. Using a mechanical model of the phalarope beak, researchers at MIT and their colleagues from Ecole Polytechnique in Paris recently discovered how the birds use surface interactions between their beaks and the water droplets to propel bits of food from beak tip to mouth. More visuals are available in a detailed press release about the discovery at:

Credit: Don DesJardin, MIT

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