How big is the bird? – solution

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What is the area of the bird, shown below?

a little bird

Hint: There are two equal semicircles representing the wings, one semicircle representing the head, one quarter of circle representing the body (with a radius equal to the diameter of the head) and one quarter of circle representing the tail.


Let $R$ and $r$ be the radii of the head and the tail, respectively.

a little bird


  \[  \mbox{diameter of the left wing} + \mbox{diameter of the head} + \mbox{radius of the right wing} =17  \]    

which we can write as

  \[  2R-r+2R+\frac{2R-r}{2}=17.  \]    


  \[  \mbox{radius of the head} + \mbox{radius of the body} = 12  \]    

which we can write as

  \[  R+2R=12.  \]    

Solving this second equation we get $R=4$, and substituting $R=4$ into the first equation gives $r=2$.

Then area of the whole bird is equal to

  \[  \mbox{area of the head} + 2 \times \mbox{area of a wing} + \mbox{area of the body} + \mbox{area of the tail}  \]    

where each of these are half or quarter circles, with the area of a whole circle being equal to $\pi \times \mbox{radius}^2$. Then we can write the area of the whole bird as:

  \[  \begin{array}{ll}&  \frac{\pi R^2}{2}+2\times \frac{\pi \left(\frac{(2R-r)}{2}\right)^2}{2}+\frac{\pi (2R)^2}{4}+\frac{\pi r^2}{4} \\ = &  \frac{\pi 4^2}{2}+2\times \frac{\pi \left(\frac{(2(4)-2)}{2}\right)^2}{2}+\frac{\pi 8^2}{4}+\frac{\pi 2^2}{4} \\ = &  8\pi + 9\pi +16\pi +\pi \\ = &  34\pi . \end{array}  \]    

Back to original puzzle

Thanks to Paulo Ferro for this puzzle - you can find it in his new geometry puzzle book: Birds, Bees and Burgers. You can find out more about it at his new website EnigMaths.


I love this! But I get a different answer (34pi). I get the radius of the wings to be 3 (you do too), hence area of 2 wings 9pi?

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