A Bird’s Eye View Beyond The Rainbow

Scientists have recently discovered a new, cool trait that hummingbirds carry. A recent article published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” shows that hummingbirds are able to perceive a rich array of colors & have better color vision than humans. 

What makes their vision special?
? Hummingbirds are able to see ultraviolet (UV) colors because their retina (the layer at the back of the eye which is sensitive to light) is different to humans.
? The perception of color derives from the “cone cells” in the retina.

What are the other differences between the vision of Hummingbirds & humans?
? Most humans are trichromats, which means they have three cone cells in the retina sensitive to red, green & blue light.
? Hummingbirds have a fourth color cone that can detect ultraviolet light, making them see more colors than humans.
? Most humans can see only one non-spectrum color – purple.
? Hummingbirds can see a variety of non-spectral colors, or hues that come from largely separate parts of the color spectrum.This heightened sense helps them to find food, dazzle mates, navigate terrain and escape predators.

Cool Facts:
? Their name, Hummingbird, originates from the humming noise created by their wings when flying as they flap extremely fast.
? Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards.
? Hummingbirds weigh just as much as a nickel – rest a nickel on your palm to feel how light they are.
? Hummingbirds drink nectar from plants, and can consume nectar up to twice their weight in one day.

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