Robot engineers have built a mechanical bird that is so realistic it got attacked by an actual hawk.
The eight-year endeavour led by Satyandra Gupta of the University of Maryland has produced a 'Robo Raven' which as well as flying can perform acrobatic rolls and dives.
The project was temporarily shelved as original models with simultaneously flapping wings were too heavy to fly.
Another stumbling block was the damage caused when a failed attempt came crashing to Earth.
Robo Raven was redesigned with better technology and independent wings that are digitally controlled enabling much greater control than previous models.
Gupta said: "We used advanced manufacturing processes such as 3D printing and laser cutting to create lightweight polymer parts.
"We can now program any desired motion patterns for the wings.
"This allows us to try new in-flight aerobatics—like diving and rolling—that would have not been possible before, and brings us a big step closer to faithfully reproducing the way real birds fly."
Robo Raven would obviously make a pretty cool toy but it should be noted the project was funded by the military suggesting life-like and deadly robo birds could be not too far off in the future.