The effects of the light environment on prey choice by zebra finches

S A Maddocks, S C Church, I C Cuthill
2001 Journal of Experimental Biology  
Recent research has highlighted the extent to which birds utilise ultraviolet vision in mate choice and foraging. However, neither the importance of the ultraviolet compared with other regions of the visual spectrum nor the use of wavelength cues in other visual tasks have been explored. We assessed the individual choices of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) for different-coloured seeds (red and white millet) under lighting conditions in which filters selectively removed blocks of the
more » ... ocks of the avian-visible spectrum corresponding to the spectral sensitivity of the four retinal cone types that subserve colour vision in this species. The effects corresponded to those predicted from the calculated distances between seed types, and between each seed type and the background, in a simple model of tetrachromatic colour space. As predicted for this foraging task, the removal of long-wavelength information had a greater influence than the removal of shorter wavelengths, including ultraviolet wavelengths. These results have important implications for predator-prey interactions and suggest that future studies of natural foraging should consider variations in the light environment.
pmid:11511666 fatcat:hh4zcno3ajd73avmawvc4ey3rq