Eyesight is among a budgie’s most important senses. Their vision allows them to search for food, fly safely, identify threats, and find mates. While humans and many other birds have eyes that face forward and are close together, budgies’ eyes are wideset and located on the sides of its head.
Many assume that because budgies’ eyes don’t face forward, they can’t see straight ahead. However, the placement of their eyes gives them the ability to see much better than humans because they can see straight ahead and to the sides at the same time without having to turn their heads.
Budgies see the world in ultraviolet colors unknown to humans. In addition, budgies’ eyesight is far superior to humans, with a wider field of vision, greater visual acuity, and eyes that work separately so they can see in more than one direction at the same time.
Do Budgies Have Good Eyesight?
Budgies have eyesight that’s far better than humans. Not only can budgies focus on more than one area at a time, but their vision is much sharper.
Binocular Vision vs. Monocular Vision
Humans, other animals, and birds with front-facing eyes see with binocular vision. Because our eyes face forward, we can only clearly see things that are straight ahead of us, and both of our eyes work together to focus on a particular thing.
Our peripheral vision, the vision that allows us to see to the sides, is limited. To see the things in our peripheral vision clearly, we need to turn our heads to look at the image straight-on. Binocular vision provides a narrow field of view but allows a much clearer perception of depth and distance.
Budgies’ eyes work much differently. Because their eyes are on the sides of their heads and spread far apart, they see with monocular vision. Monocular vision allows them to see in more than one direction at the same time, and their eyes work separately from one another.
For example, if something is coming at a budgie from both sides, it can see both things without turning its head. Likewise, if something is coming at a budgie from one side and something else is coming at it from the front, the budgie can see both things without moving its head or changing positions.
Monocular vision provides a much wider field of vision than binocular vision, allowing those with monocular vision to see much more than those with binocular vision.
How Do Budgies Eyes Work?
Because budgies see using monocular vision, they have the benefit of being able to see almost all around them. Budgies have good visual acuity and can see things in much more detail than humans.
Cones and Rods
Budgies can focus on and maintain a clear image of things close to them and far away. Humans and budgies have about the same vision sharpness and can see things at a high resolution.
However, budgies can see things at a much higher resolution because their eyes have a much larger central area of vision and a higher density of cones, photoreceptors, and rods within their retinas.
Cones and rods are in the center of the retina within the macula. The rods are stimulated by dim light and only provide black-and-white images. The cones need much greater light to be stimulated and are what allow budgies and humans to see fine details and colors.
Budgies’ eyesight is superior to the eyesight of humans. Budgies have many more rods and cones than humans do, and their retinas don’t contain any blood vessels like humans’ retinas do, which prevents light scattering. These factors are why the visual acuity of budgies is up to eight times superior to humans.
There are three types of eyes among birds – flat, tubular, and globular.
Most diurnal birds have flat eyes on the sides of their heads. However, budgies are diurnal birds, but their eyes, while located on the sides of their heads, may appear flat but are a bit elongated, so they’re considered globular eyeballs.
Globular eyeballs can’t move around as much as humans’ eyes do. When humans look around, they can either move their eyes, or they can move their eyes along with their heads.
Budgies can’t move their eyes in the same way humans can, so they rely on head movement to view things, which is why you’ll often see your budgie tilt its head to look at things better.
Like humans, budgies need necessary nutrients and vitamins to maintain healthy eyes, such as yellow and green vegetables, which will provide budgies with Vitamin A. Budgies also need ample natural light to keep their eyes strong.
Budgies that are kept indoors should be kept in an area with lots of natural light. If that isn’t possible, use full spectrum lighting in your budgie’s room.
Budgies living in the wild have even better eyesight than those living in captivity, as this limits their exposure to direct sunlight. In the wild, budgies are in sunlight for up to 12 hours each day, strengthening their eyes.
How Do Budgies See Color?
Budgies see color in a very different way than humans do. Budgies can see even more colors than humans because they can see color and ultraviolet light. According to BioScience, birds can see the regular color spectrum as well as the wavelengths of the ultraviolet spectrum.
The cones located in the retina allow humans and birds to see colors. The difference is that humans have three types of cones, and budgies have four.
The three types of cones are sensitive to blue, red, and green light, called trichromatic color vision, which is how humans see colors. The extra type of cone that budgies have allows them to see the ultraviolet frequencies, giving them tetrachromatic color vision.
This extra ability to see ultraviolet frequencies makes colors much more vibrant to budgies. However, no one knows what colors look like to budgies, but one can imagine with all the vibrant colors, they can see that everything they view is astonishingly beautiful.
What Colors Do Budgies Like?
While there isn’t much information on a particular color that budgies like, they prefer bright colors over dull or light colors, particularly red, blue, yellow, and orange.
According to the National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information, budgies often choose their mates based on color preferences. They state that female budgies “consistently prefer UV-reflecting males.”
However, they also state that the “observed preferences are due to the removal of UV affecting the perceived hue rather than brightness.” Their study showed that male budgies don’t seem to have a color preference when choosing a female mate.
BioScience states that birds aren’t good at seeing ultraviolet colors considering many other species can perceive UV wavelengths. Humans are the exception because we can’t see the ultraviolet range of colors.
To determine if your budgie likes a specific color over others, you could try putting toys and other items of different colors in its cage and see which one it plays with the most.
Do Budgies Have Good Night Vision?
Budgies are diurnal creatures, which means they’re most active during the daylight hours.
Typically, most diurnal creatures don’t have the best vision at night. While they have excellent vision during the day, they’re not equipped with special night vision that allows them to see in the dark like many nocturnal birds are.
Budgies also experience night terrors because their vision is so poor at night. Their night vision is similar to the night vision of humans.
Humans can see shadows and shapes at night, which can cause the mind to play tricks and make humans think there’s something there when there isn’t.
The same thing happens to budgies at night. Many budgies will get so scared that they begin flapping around erratically in their cages and squawking or screaming.
Noises, small movements, flashes of light coming in the windows from outside, such as lightning or car headlights, and the wind blowing can also affect a budgie enough to make it show fear of the dark.
Covering the budgie’s cage with a sheet or providing a dim nightlight can help keep the budgie calm at night. However, never cover the cage while your budgie has a night terror.
Doing so can make the issue worse. Let your budgie calm down first, then cover the cage for the rest of the night and see how it fairs.