Advanced

Ultraviolet sensitivity and colour vision in raptor foraging

Lind, Olle LU ; Mitkus, Mindaugas LU ; Olsson, Peter LU and Kelber, Almut LU (2013) In Journal of Experimental Biology 216(10). p.1819-1826
Abstract
Raptors have excellent vision, yet it is unclear how they use colour information. It has been suggested that raptors use ultraviolet (UV) reflections from vole urine to find good hunting grounds. In contrast, UV plumage colours in songbirds such as blue tits are assumed to be 'hidden' communication signals, inconspicuous to raptors. This ambiguity results from a lack of knowledge about raptor ocular media transmittance, which sets the limit for UV sensitivity. We measured ocular media transmittance in common buzzards (Buteo buteo), sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus), red kites (Milvus milvus) and kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) so that, for the first time, raptor UV sensitivity can be fully described. With this information, and new measurements... (More)
Raptors have excellent vision, yet it is unclear how they use colour information. It has been suggested that raptors use ultraviolet (UV) reflections from vole urine to find good hunting grounds. In contrast, UV plumage colours in songbirds such as blue tits are assumed to be 'hidden' communication signals, inconspicuous to raptors. This ambiguity results from a lack of knowledge about raptor ocular media transmittance, which sets the limit for UV sensitivity. We measured ocular media transmittance in common buzzards (Buteo buteo), sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus), red kites (Milvus milvus) and kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) so that, for the first time, raptor UV sensitivity can be fully described. With this information, and new measurements of vole urine reflectance, we show that (i) vole urine is unlikely to provide a reliable visual signal to hunting raptors and (ii) blue tit plumage colours are more contrasting to blue tits than to sparrowhawks because of UV reflectance. However, as the difference between blue tit and sparrowhawk vision is subtle, we suggest that behavioural data are needed to fully resolve this issue. UV cues are of little or no importance to raptors in both vole and songbird interactions and the role of colour vision in raptor foraging remains unclear. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
ultraviolet reflectance, ocular media transmittance, bird vision, raptor, hunting behaviour, visual modelling, vole urine
in
Journal of Experimental Biology
volume
216
issue
10
pages
1819 - 1826
publisher
The Company of Biologists Ltd
external identifiers
  • wos:000318483600015
  • pmid:23785106
  • scopus:84877151840
ISSN
1477-9145
DOI
10.1242/jeb.082834
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b41e0120-00fb-4cea-b3c2-c040ff915392 (old id 3821470)
date added to LUP
2013-06-25 12:21:39
date last changed
2019-10-01 01:16:19
@article{b41e0120-00fb-4cea-b3c2-c040ff915392,
  abstract     = {Raptors have excellent vision, yet it is unclear how they use colour information. It has been suggested that raptors use ultraviolet (UV) reflections from vole urine to find good hunting grounds. In contrast, UV plumage colours in songbirds such as blue tits are assumed to be 'hidden' communication signals, inconspicuous to raptors. This ambiguity results from a lack of knowledge about raptor ocular media transmittance, which sets the limit for UV sensitivity. We measured ocular media transmittance in common buzzards (Buteo buteo), sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus), red kites (Milvus milvus) and kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) so that, for the first time, raptor UV sensitivity can be fully described. With this information, and new measurements of vole urine reflectance, we show that (i) vole urine is unlikely to provide a reliable visual signal to hunting raptors and (ii) blue tit plumage colours are more contrasting to blue tits than to sparrowhawks because of UV reflectance. However, as the difference between blue tit and sparrowhawk vision is subtle, we suggest that behavioural data are needed to fully resolve this issue. UV cues are of little or no importance to raptors in both vole and songbird interactions and the role of colour vision in raptor foraging remains unclear.},
  author       = {Lind, Olle and Mitkus, Mindaugas and Olsson, Peter and Kelber, Almut},
  issn         = {1477-9145},
  keyword      = {ultraviolet reflectance,ocular media transmittance,bird vision,raptor,hunting behaviour,visual modelling,vole urine},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {10},
  pages        = {1819--1826},
  publisher    = {The Company of Biologists Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Experimental Biology},
  title        = {Ultraviolet sensitivity and colour vision in raptor foraging},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.082834},
  volume       = {216},
  year         = {2013},
}