Cockatiels in the wild have a similar appearance. However, cockatiels in captivity can be born with a variety of striking colors and patterns. Cockatiels with black eyes and cockatiels with red eyes are two examples. In most cases, red-eyed cockatiels are not albinos but instead belong to a color variant known as lutino.
The various cockatiel eye hues are one of the reasons why many people believe cockatiels can see in the dark. However, can they? What does your cockatiel see when the lights go out? Continue reading to find out!
Can Cockatiels See in the Dark?
Though cockatiels can technically see in the dark, their eyesight is very weak. This is one of potential causes for cockatiels easily experiencing night frights when placed in dim light conditions. To learn more about why your bird sees the world differently than you do and other fun facts related to cockatiel eyesight, read on!
How Well Do Cockatiels See in the Dark?
Cockatiels, as diurnal animals like humans, do not require great night vision to survive and have instead evolve to adapt their visual abilities for other purposes.
Cockatiels, unlike other species of pet cockatiels, do not forage for food, seek partners, build and defend nests, or groom their feathers at night, according to Avian Avenue Parrot Forum. Cockatiels must obtain at least 10 hours of continuous sleep each night with night light in order to remain healthy, as Cockatoo Cottage notes.
When it nighttime, cockatiels take advantage of the darkness to stay hidden in tall trees. This allows them to get the cockatiels sleep they need while being surrounded by their family and flock for safety.
How Do Cockatiel Eyes Work?
Science Connected explains why avian eyes are so different from the human eye and other animals’ eyes.
Similarities between people eyes and cockatiel eyes
Cockatiel eyes are similar to human eyes in that the light is passed through the eyelets. A cockatiel’s eyes shine similarly to our own, thanks to the way they allow daylight into the lens, cornea, and vitreous area before reaching all the way back to the retina.
Differences between people eyes and cockatiel eyes
Cockatiel eyesight, on the other hand, appears to be significantly more acute. This is because cockatiels have considerably more photoreceptors in their eyes than humans do. Furthermore, bird eyes have a greater range of vision and the capacity to see details at different levels of detail than people’s eyes do.
Cockatiels have disproportionately big eyes, in comparison to their heads and bodies, than virtually any other creature on Earth. As Audubon points out, the difference is comparable to attempting to watch a movie on your laptop computer rather than at a cinema screen.
Cockatiels have a different field of vision than people because their eyes are placed on either side of the head instead of in the front like ours. This allows them to see better when they go to the theater!
Last but not least, bird eyes can see in ultraviolet light. People’s eyes can’t do that because we only have three types of light-sensing photoreceptors, excluding the fourth type – UV photoreceptors.
How Well Do Cockatiels See During the Day?
Cockatiels have good eyesight during the day since they can see much better than humans. Their eyes have a wider field of vision and greater color and intensity variations, allowing them to see further and with finer detail. This is why you may watch a hawk soar so far into the sky and let out a scream while your cockatiel can detect it immediately and take you several minutes to find it with binoculars.
How Well Do Cockatiels See During the Night?
However, when night falls, both you and your cockatiel would be unable to see the same hawk.
Cockatiels have poor vision at night and rely on their other senses to stay safe during this time.
As previously said, cockatiels are susceptible to a condition known as night fears. Although it’s not fully understood, flights at night do occur in all companion parrot species to some extent. Cockatiels, on the other hand, appear to be more prone to experiencing nighttime terrors.
According to Northern Parrots, one of the best ways to prevent night frights is by letting a small amount of light stay on in the room where your cockatiel sleeps.
A constant light is key so that your children aren’t jarred awake by a beam of light from opening or closing a door, or car headlights streaming in the window. Intermittent light can cause nightmares.
But steady, constant ambient light that simply raises the visibility slightly in the sleeping area is similar to full moonlight in the wild. It is easier to see what is making that rustling noise in the next branch or where that draft came from.
As a result, it’s less likely that your startled, terrified cockatiel will react by thrashing, beating wings and racing heart rate, which can lead to bleeding and even death.
Though some cockatiel owners prefer to let their birds sleep in uncovered cockatiel’s cage at night, doing so can create the potential for drafts – something cockatiels are not fond of.
Add a little light in the room but keep the doors closed and the window shades drawn to help reduce low vision-related night fright for your cockatiel if he or she has night frights.
Do Lutino Cockatiels See Differently Than Other Cockatiels?
The distinctive pink or red lutino cockatiel eyes are also worth noting. According to The Native Cockatiel Society of Australia, lutinos are a color mutation that removes grey spectrum colors from the eye. Lutinos, therefore, have pink or red eyes.
Although lutino is a similar form of mutation to whiteface (which has normal eyes) and albino (which has pink eyes), it is not the same as either. True albinos are extremely rare in any species. Because their eyes lack pigment that serves somewhat like sunglasses in the presence of intense light, albinos are more light sensitive than other animals with similar mutations.
Lutino cockatiels may be born with light pink or red eyes that darken to a very dark red as they grow up. Sometimes, the darkness of their eyes can make them appear black in some lights. There is some disagreement among bird enthusiasts about whether lutino cockatiels are more light-sensitive and thus more prone to nighttime fright.
In other words, scientists are unsure whether lutino cockatiels are more light-sensitive than non-lutino cockatiels. Observing your own bird is the most effective approach to figure this out.