Can birds see blue?

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Arunima

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Can birds see blue?
« on: 27/06/2010 11:30:02 »
Arunima asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Why can't† birds see the colour blue? Or can they?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 27/06/2010 11:30:02 by _system »

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Offline RD

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Can birds see blue?
« Reply #1 on: 27/06/2010 19:38:02 »
Why can't  birds see the colour blue? Or can they?

If the pigments in their retina are anything to go by, they can see blue ...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrachromacy
« Last Edit: 27/06/2010 19:47:26 by RD »

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Offline imatfaal

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Can birds see blue?
« Reply #2 on: 28/06/2010 12:26:21 »
So many birds have beautiful blue display plumage (the Norwegian Blue for instance)  I would be very surprised if they could not distinguish this colour. 
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Offline thedoc

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Can birds see blue?
« Reply #3 on: 29/06/2010 20:34:10 »
We discussed this question on our show

Helen -  Well, yes. All you have to really do is look at a peacockís tail to see just how important the colour blue is for birds and in fact, birds have really extraordinary vision because they have four cones. As well as the three that we have as mammals and humans have, they can also see UV and near UV light, and the reason they do this is for all sorts of things. We think it plays a really important role in sexual signals if you cut out the UV part of feathers, it really kind of interferes with how birds can communicate with each other. And itís also quite important for them in their ability to find prey and to forage and find other food. So UV light is very important and they have great colour vision too. So birds are really quite championing the world of colour vision actually, and can see much more than we can.


Click to visit the show page for the podcast in which this question is answered. Alternatively, [chapter podcast=2752 track=10.06.27/Naked_Scientists_Show_10.06.27_6610.mp3] listen to the answer now[/chapter] or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 29/06/2010 20:37:05 by BenV »