By Joe Pinkstone For Mailonline
Published: 14:00 GMT, 2 January 2019 | Updated: 15:15 GMT, 2 January 2019
Seagull wings and the flight mechanics of the common coastal bird flies may help shape drones of the future, new research has revealed.
Scientists have revealed their wings 'morph' into a wide range of different shapes to make them more stable during flight.
When soaring, the wings are fully extended and have a rounded shape whereas during take-off or landing, they are more tucked in with a flatter profile.
Scroll down for video
When soaring, the wings of seagulls are fully extended and have a rounded shape whereas during take-off or landing, they are more tucked in with a flatter profile (stock)
Canadian researchers used a wind tunnel to measure the lift and drag generated by 12 different gull wing shapes.
Lead scientist Professor Philippe Lavoie, from the University of British Columbia, said: 'If you can change the shape of the wings, you can create more stable configurations with lower drag when you want more endurance.
'Gulls can use updrafts to increase altitude so they don't have to flap their wings as much to conserve energy.
'But if they need to make quick manoeuvres, like diving to catch fish, they can change the shape of the wing for that particular purpose.'
The findings, published in the journal Royal Society Interface, could help in the design of aircraft and drones, he said.