A large dent in the nose of an Air China plane, sustained from a suspected bird strike, was discovered after it landed in Hong Kong from China on Thursday (March 22).
The dent on flight CA103 measured 1m by 1m, The Beijing News reported.
Air China said in a statement on its Sina Weibo page that the plane had been hit by a bird while on its journey from Tianjin city in north-east China to Hong Kong.
The airline said the plane landed safely at 1.15pm, with all flight systems normal. The damage was discovered only after landing, and no one on the plane was hurt.
It is unclear when exactly during the flight the bird struck the nose of the plane, but photos and videos of the aftermath show what appears to be blood stains streaked on the front of the Boeing 737-800.
A spokesman for Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Department said it did not receive any reports of bird strikes from the plane before it landed, Hong Kong's Apple Daily news site reported.
It added that bird strikes have considerable impact on planes.
According to aviation portal Skybrary, which was started by the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, a bird strike is defined as a collision between a bird and an aircraft which is in flight or on a take-off or landing roll.
It is common and can be a significant threat to aircraft safety, with smaller aircraft at the risk of more significant damage.
Bird strikes are more likely to occur during take-off, initial climb, approach and landing phases, as there are more birds in flight at lower levels.
They are also more likely to occur during daylight hours.
In July last year, an AirAsia flight to Malaysia had to return to Australia shortly after take-off due to a suspected bird strike.
In November 2016, a Singapore-bound Tigerair flight had to return to Hong Kong after a bird strike.