Faced with a glorious spectrum of colour, songbirds, just like humans, look for the big picture

They can lump nearby hues in the colour spectrum into categories, such as shades that are generally red, or generally orange.

A study now shows that this affects their ability to distinguish between certain colours.

The findings, by a team from Duke University in North Carolina, are published in the journal Nature.

Female songbirds were rewarded with food if they flipped over a circular disc of two colours.

Zebra Finch - Study into colour and eyesight in birds BBC

The two-colour discs had different pairs of colours selected from an orange-to-red spectrum. This mirrors the colour range found in the male songbird beak.

One idea was that the birds would be able to pick up on all detectable differences in colour across the spectrum. But instead, the birds do something known as "categorical perception"

continue reading the article on the BBC website here


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