What animal or bird cannot see

Sun protection and built-in binoculars

The anatomy of the birds gives them above-average eyesight

At a great distance, birds can recognize insects or prey that are millimeters in size from flight. How is that possible? Special properties of the body strengthen their eyesight. For example, wiggling the head or the 360 ​​° all-round view are indispensable in the fight for survival.

The golden eagle's eye is protected from sunlight. This allows eagles to see even better. - Photo: Frank Derer

Birds' sense of sight is generally very well developed. Birds recognize insects that are millimeter-sized at a distance of meters. The little rabbit in the grass, which hops several tens of meters under the birds of prey, is hit on target. And that although the target object had to be sighted in mid-flight. In comparison to mammals, the sense of sight in birds is above average. Incidentally, on the contrary to the sense of smell, where mammals have the edge.


The sense of sight is vital

Birds register their food primarily with their visual sense. They discover small prey such as hares or hamsters from a great distance. But even the tiniest insects and even their eggs are not hidden from the hungry bird's eye. Birds of prey, songbirds and the like spot their prey for themselves or their young.

But birds do not only need their good eyesight to find food. Especially in the case of birds, which often become prey themselves, the eyes play an important role in the fight for survival. Because only those who recognize their enemies quickly can flee in time.
Nocturnal birds, such as owls and owls, have excellent night vision. Many insectivorous birds, such as swallows and common swifts, have the ability to quickly see insects and to catch them. For us this is an incredible achievement. Tits tend to be among the collectors. However, these birds also have a keen sense of sight. For example, they discover tiny insect eggs that are hidden in small holes and that they feed on.

The eyes of birds are larger than those of mammals relative to body size. Depending on the ecology, bird's eyes have numerous special adaptations. How the anatomy of birds enhances their eyesight:

  • What is the head shaking for?
    Back and forth, back and forth. When walking, the head of many birds seems to be constantly moving. In fact, the opposite is true. While the body continues to move forward, the head remains still for a moment. In this moment of calm, the eyes can better recognize moving objects in their environment.

  • The 360 ​​° all-round view
    Birds that are primarily prey for predators have their eyes on the sides of their heads. This allows them to see almost in any direction and locate their enemies faster. Because the fields of view of each eye almost do not overlap, their ability to see spatially is clearly limited.

  • Mobility in the throat
    In contrast to the prey animals such as pigeons or chickens, which benefit from the 360 ​​° view, owls have their eyes side by side on the front of the head. Your spatial vision is very strong. So that they can easily see in every direction, they have the ability to turn their head by 270 °. For example, they can look to the right even though they have turned their necks to the left.

  • Binoculars in the eye
    Birds of prey that have to find their prey over very long distances (e.g. vultures or falcons) have "built-in binoculars" in their eyes. Part of their field of vision enlarges the objects and the anatomy of the feathers above the eyes forms a protection against the sun - therefore birds of prey often seem to look "grim".

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