Avian colour vision: effects of variation in receptor sensitivity and noise data on model predictions as compared to behavioural results

Vision Res. 2009 Jul;49(15):1939-47. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2009.05.003. Epub 2009 May 19.


Colour vision models require measurement of receptor noise and the absorbance of visual pigments, oil droplets, and ocular media. We have studied how variation in these parameters influences colour matching, spectral sensitivity, and colour discrimination predictions in four bird species. While colour match predictions are sensitive to variation in visual pigment and oil droplet absorbance data, discrimination predictions are mostly sensitive to variation in receptor noise. Ocular media transmittance influences only modelled spectral sensitivities at short wavelengths. A comparison between predicted and measured spectral sensitivities in domestic fowl and duck revealed large discrepancies, likely because of influences from achromatic mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Birds / physiology*
  • Color Vision / physiology*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Discrimination, Psychological*
  • Light
  • Models, Biological
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Species Specificity