crows see
Crows see blue just as well, if not better than humans. They actually have much better eyesight than humans meaning that crows see more than us. That may sound surprising and that’s because, well, it is! Humans see color as a result of combinations of light. We can visually perceive three primary colors of light: red, blue and yel- sorry i mean green. Yes for some reason the primary colors you learnt from your year 3 teacher when painting flowers aren’t accurate for light; they’re not red, blue and yellow. In fact, when looking at light it isn’t blue and yellow that make green, it is blue and green that make yellow! How strange.

Never cross a crow - it will remember your face

Anyway, let’s get back on track. Humans see colors as combinations of the three primary colors of light: red, blue and green. Crows see colors that humans can’t begin to imagine! All of that is because they see colors as combinations of FOUR primary colors of light. This means that their visual spectrum for color is far more extensive and advanced when compared to us pathetic humans.

In case you are wondering what the mysterious fourth bird primary color is, you’re not alone. It seems that birds are also able to see UV light, commonly represented for humans as a lovely magenta. But bare in mind, UV light is completely invisible for humans! We can’t actually imagine what it looks like, which is a very very strange and uncomfortable thought.

Portrait Of A Gray Crow Stock Photo - Download Image Now - Crow - Bird, Animal, Animal Body Part - iStock

Other highly colorful animal vision

Now that we’ve established that crows see not only blue but also UV light, which is completely invisible to humans, let’s keep going. Let’s discuss some other fascinating animal color vision!

Surprisingly, goldfish are up there in terms of animals with amazing color vision. Crows see ultraviolet light sure, big whoop. Goldfish see the same four primary colors as crows, meaning they already trump humans and match crows in terms of visual prowess. What sets goldfish apart however, is a special little enzyme in their eyes. This enzyme allegedly makes them able to see small amounts of the infrared spectrum of light! While not quite the heat vision from Predator, it’s insanely cool none the less.

Odontodactylus scyllarus - Wikipedia

One example that i would simply be an idiot not to mention is the mantis shrimp. To put it bluntly, mantis shrimp have WEIRD eyes. Humans, as previously established, have three color receptors. One for red, one for blue and one for yellow. Crows see red, blue, yellow and UV light; as do goldfish for a total of four receptors. Mantis shrimp, being the funky visionaries that they are, have an unbelievable SIXTEEN receptors for color. You read that right. Six, teen. One, six. an absolutely gobsmackingly gigantic amount of colors for such a small little creature.

Hopefully your main takeaway from today is that humans, while amazing in our own ways, aren’t all that. Crows see one more primary color of light than us. Goldfish see the same as crows and can potentially also see infrared light too! Don’t even get me started on mantis shrimp again, they hurt my head too much.

Extra information

Animal-Club provides animal parties or animal handling workshops. You will be able to see, learn and interact with many wonderful animals with the help of our presenters. Our mobile zoo has many friendly animals such as rabbits, tarantulas, geckos, vinegaroons and more, perfect for an animal party. We can also come over to your school for an animal school visit or arrange for an animal workshop with us where the children can learn about looking after animals and animal behaviour, and have fun too.