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Colour vision and background adaptation in a passerine bird, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

Lind, Olle LU (2016) In Royal Society Open Science 3(9).
Abstract

Today, there is good knowledge of the physiological basis of bird colour vision and how mathematical models can be used to predict visual thresholds. However, we still know only little about how colour vision changes between different viewing conditions. This limits the understanding of how colour signalling is configured in habitats where the light of the illumination and the background may shift dramatically. I examined how colour discrimination in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is affected by adaptation to different backgrounds. I trained finches in a two-alternative choice task, to choose between red discs displayed on backgrounds with di fferent colours. I found that discrimination thresholds correlate with stimulus contrast to... (More)

Today, there is good knowledge of the physiological basis of bird colour vision and how mathematical models can be used to predict visual thresholds. However, we still know only little about how colour vision changes between different viewing conditions. This limits the understanding of how colour signalling is configured in habitats where the light of the illumination and the background may shift dramatically. I examined how colour discrimination in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is affected by adaptation to different backgrounds. I trained finches in a two-alternative choice task, to choose between red discs displayed on backgrounds with di fferent colours. I found that discrimination thresholds correlate with stimulus contrast to the background. Thresholds are low, and in agreement with model predictions, for a background with a red colour similar to the discs. For the most contrasting green background, thresholds are about five times higher than this. Subsequently, I trained the finches for the detection of single discs on a grey background. Detection thresholds are about 2.5 to 3 times higher than discrimination thresholds. This study demonstrates close similarities in human and bird colour vision, and the quantitative data offer a new possibility to account for shifting viewing conditions in colour vision models.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Bird, Visual ecology, plumage coloration, colour vision, behavioural experiments, zebra finch, animal cognition, communication
in
Royal Society Open Science
volume
3
issue
9
pages
12 pages
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • scopus:84987762169
  • scopus:84987762169
  • wos:000389236700024
ISSN
2054-5703
DOI
10.1098/rsos.160383
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
27483a04-5562-41bd-b4a6-e000544ac388
date added to LUP
2016-11-10 09:54:56
date last changed
2017-10-01 05:25:40
@article{27483a04-5562-41bd-b4a6-e000544ac388,
  abstract     = {<p>Today, there is good knowledge of the physiological basis of bird colour vision and how mathematical models can be used to predict visual thresholds. However, we still know only little about how colour vision changes between different viewing conditions. This limits the understanding of how colour signalling is configured in habitats where the light of the illumination and the background may shift dramatically. I examined how colour discrimination in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is affected by adaptation to different backgrounds. I trained finches in a two-alternative choice task, to choose between red discs displayed on backgrounds with di fferent colours. I found that discrimination thresholds correlate with stimulus contrast to the background. Thresholds are low, and in agreement with model predictions, for a background with a red colour similar to the discs. For the most contrasting green background, thresholds are about five times higher than this. Subsequently, I trained the finches for the detection of single discs on a grey background. Detection thresholds are about 2.5 to 3 times higher than discrimination thresholds. This study demonstrates close similarities in human and bird colour vision, and the quantitative data offer a new possibility to account for shifting viewing conditions in colour vision models.</p>},
  articleno    = {160383},
  author       = {Lind, Olle},
  issn         = {2054-5703},
  keyword      = {Bird,Visual ecology,plumage coloration,colour vision,behavioural experiments,zebra finch,animal cognition,communication},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {09},
  number       = {9},
  pages        = {12},
  publisher    = {Royal Society},
  series       = {Royal Society Open Science},
  title        = {Colour vision and background adaptation in a passerine bird, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.160383},
  volume       = {3},
  year         = {2016},
}