Asker Nature Reserve

Kingfisher Bullet Train

Kingfishers Inspired Japanese Bullet Trains

Kingfishers fly low and straight like bullets, reaching up to 25 miles per hour, but it’s not their speed that excites scientists; it’s their beaks. Sharp, pointed, and so long that they make up a third of a kingfisher’s height, these beaks slice soundlessly through water meaning kingfishers can dive into pools without alerting fish. Engineers working on Japan’s high-speed bullet train copied the shape of this beak to prevent sonic boom whenever these fast-moving trains enter a tunnel.


The length of a kingfisher’s beak can be something of a hindrance when it comes to feeding the chicks in the pitch black of an underground nest. But these birds have an ingenious answer to this problem: the chicks have a white tip to their beaks and their parents have a white flash on each side of their face, providing a luminous visual clue.

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Kingfisher feature used to solve bullet train problem

Science from Nature

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Bullet Train Science

Watch how the scientists solved a noise problem

Kingfisher Bullet Train News

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