Vortices enable the complex aerobatics of peregrine falcons

The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) is known for its extremely high speeds during hunting dives or stoop. The superior maneuverability of peregrine falcons during stoop is attributed to vortex-dominated flow promoted by their morphology. Here the M-shape configuration is shown and a form which is adopted by the bird towards the end of dive. Surface flow visualisations and dye visualisations have helped to unlock the aerodynamic secrets that the falcon uses to reach these phenomenal speeds whilst, crucially, still in control and able to quickly adapt in order to catch their prey.