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Duncan the Drinking Bird

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This classic bird might look innocent with its constant dunking, but a closer look shows that fundamental chemistry and physics processes are actually occurring!

  • $15.00
< View all items in Chemistry
  • Weight
    0.07 kg

The ultimate desktop accessory, Duncan the Drinking Bird demonstrates a wide range of principles in chemistry and physics. To see Duncan in action, simply wet the felt beak with water and place a glass of water close enough for it to dunk into and watch as the science unfolds.

The drinking bird features a glass head covered in felt and a glass body which are connected by a glass tube. The body contains methylene chloride which has a very low boiling point. After wetting the bird’s beak, evaporation begins which lowers the temperature of the head. This causes the methylene chloride to evaporate which creates a drop in pressure in the body. This pressure pushes the liquid up the neck and into the head. After enough methylene chloride gathers in the head, the head is overbalanced and tips forward into the glass of water. The methylene chloride is cooled by the wet head and drains back to the bottom, causing the bird to become upright and start the process all over again.

This ingenious desktop item displays the chemistry and physics principles of boiling and condensation, gas laws, the functioning of a heat engine and much more! Duncan the Drinking Bird is a must have for the science classroom or the desk of any science lovers.


  • Recommended for ages eight and over. Not suitable for children under three years of age.
  • Contains the chemical methylene chloride.
  • Duncan’s size: 190 x 50 x 50mm
  • Packaging size: 180 x 60 x 60mm

This product also makes a great classroom teaching resource. This product can be used in classroom activities that align with the Australian Curriculum.


Content Descriptor

Year 5 - ACSSU077

Solids, liquids and gases have different observable properties and behave in different ways

Year 3 - ACSSU046

A change of state between solid and liquid can be caused by adding or removing heat

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