Saturday, December 05, 2020
Animals Discovery Education

Hummingbirds see colours we can only imagine – Making Them Even More Awesome!

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Humans are colour-blind compared to birds and many other animals.

Put simply, humans have three types of retina colour cones, and birds have four. This makes us sensitive to red, green and blue light.

Anna’s Hummingbird. Photo: Vinitha Fredenburgh/Audubon Photography Awards

A new study shows that tiny hummingbirds see colours we can’t even imagine!

Birds have a fourth, that lets them detect ultraviolet light.

Image: Shutterstock

While humans have just one non-spectral colour – purple – birds can theoretically see up to five: purple, ultraviolet+red, ultraviolet+green, ultraviolet+yellow and ultraviolet+purple.

Image: Getty

The hummingbirds rely on their heightened colour sense to find food, dazzle mates, escape predators and navigate diverse terrain, these scientists said.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird at a Trumpet Honeysuckle. Photo: Roger Levien/Audubon Photography Awards

In fact, said evolutionary biologist Mary (Cassie) Stoddard at Princeton:

“Humans are colour-blind compared to birds and many other animals.”

Infographic by the Stoddard Lab/ Princeton University.

We have always loved the Hummingbird at Our Earth, and this somehow makes them that much cooler!

While you are here, why not check out our PHOTO REPORT | What Scientists Found Hidden Deep In The Ocean Seems Like Science Fiction!

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