Color Vision Helps Birds Find Food, Right Mates

Posted: Jun 18 2016, 10:53pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

Color Vision Helps Birds Find Food, Right Mates
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The same color vision that allows us to distinguish between a ripe and unripe fruit or recognize our own species is also found in chickens, new research has found.

Just like humans, birds also have color constancy which helps them in recognizing different colors under different light conditions, the study said.

For birds, this means that they, in different environments and under different lighting conditions, recognize the color of, for instance, berries and can thereby distinguish those that are ripe from those that are not.

Without color constancy, they would not be able to rely on their color vision -- they would simply see the berries in different colors as the light changed. They would certainly also not be able to recognize their own kind of species.

To test if birds have similar color constancy, researchers from Lund University kept chickens in an environment with white light and were given access to containers marked in three different colors - red, yellow and orange.

Only by selecting the orange container would the birds receive food.

The researchers then studied which container the chickens selected when the light in the room was switched to different shades of red.

The results showed that the chickens continued to select the orange container.

The research was published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"We studied many different lighting conditions to find out how big the changes in light could be without the chickens losing their color constancy,” said Peter Olsson from Lund University in Sweden.

The researchers also calculated how big the changes in light are inside the chicken's eyes using a mathematical model.

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