Ultraviolet vision in birds: what is its function?

Bennett, A. T. and Cuthill, I. C. 1994, Ultraviolet vision in birds: what is its function?, Vision research, vol. 34, no. 11, pp. 1471-1478.

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Title Ultraviolet vision in birds: what is its function?
Author(s) Bennett, A. T.
Cuthill, I. C.
Journal name Vision research
Volume number 34
Issue number 11
Start page 1471
End page 1478
Publisher Pergamon
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 1994-06
ISSN 0042-6989
1878-5646
Keyword(s) ultraviolet vision
bird vision
colour vision
sensory ecology
Summary Although UV vision was first demonstrated in birds in the early 1970s, its function is still unknown. Here we review the evidence for UV vision in birds, discuss the special properties of UV light, lay out in detail hypotheses for the function of UV vision in birds and discuss their plausibility. The main hypotheses are that UV vision functions: (i) in orientation, (ii) in foraging and (iii) in signalling. The first receives support from studies of homing pigeons, but it would be unwise to conclude that orientation is UV's primary function in all birds. It is especially important to test the signalling hypothesis because bird plumage often reflects UV and tests of theories of sexual selection have virtually always assumed that birds perceive plumage ''colours'' as humans do. A priori this assumption is unlikely to be correct, for unlike humans, birds see in the UV, have at least four types of cones and have a system of oil droplets which filters light entering individual cones.
Language eng
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30022753

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