Parrot visual fields

4 May 2011   

Image of Senegal parrot with skull overlaid

Our new paper on parrots’ visual fields (Vision, touch and object manipulation in Senegal parrots Poicephalus senegalus) has just been published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. In it, we show that Senegal parrots’ visual fields are unlike those of any other bird species. Their frontal binocular field is relatively broad, extending above the head, and they have a nearly comprehensive field of view around the head. However, they cannot see below their bill tip, which raises questions about how they perceive objects when they are manipulating them — something these exploratory, playful birds do frequently. We know that parrots have a bill tip organ which allows them to collect tactile information about objects in their bill. We speculate that the presence of this bill tip organ has allowed the parrots to shift their visual field coverage up and back, potentially improving their ability to detect predators.

You can read the press release here.