Parakeets are adorable little birds that are interactive, loving, and social creatures.
Aside from their fantastic personality, these birds come in a range of bright colors, including blue, green, yellow, and a stunning albino coloration.
Although these birds are brightly colored, are parakeets actually able to see the gorgeous coloration themselves?
Parakeets are not color blind but instead have heightened vision compared to humans.
These birds can see into the ultraviolet light spectrum with the help of their highly advanced eyesight.
Enhanced vision increases the likelihood of survival in the wild for this bird.
Many research studies have recently been conducted on the parakeet and its ability to see in the ultraviolet spectrum.
researchers agree that heightened eyesight is a means to survival, allowing the birds to find fresh seeds and fruits. The enhanced vision may also let birds recognize one another and choose a healthy mate.
Seeing bright cheek feathers that have been exposed to increased sunlight could translate to a healthy and strong breeding partner.
Parakeets can recognize one another, mostly through vision, in their complex and tightly packed social flocks.
What Spectrum Can Parakeets See?
The parakeet can see into the ultraviolet spectrum with a highly developed eye structure.
Not only can the parakeet see the same colors a human can, detecting red, blue, and green, but the parakeet can see colors at the far end of the spectrum, which are too difficult for human eyes to detect without the assistance of ultraviolet light.
Parakeets have a broad vision range and can see enhanced coloration. It can also tell if a fellow parakeet has been in the sunshine often.
The increased sunlight will cause the cheek feathers on a parakeet to fluoresce, making them particularly desirable to other parakeets.
Enhanced cheek feathers have been observed in several parakeets and are routinely studied by scientists.
How Do Parakeets See Color?
Parakeets are not only able to see all the colors humans can see, but they can also see ultraviolet light, with an expanded eye structure that allows them to see more colors than the human eye.
There are three cone cells in a human eye that help detect red, blue, and green light and objects. A parakeet has four cones, with the fourth cone cells in the eye dedicated to ultraviolet light.
The parakeet eye is more developed than a human eye, allowing it to see expanded color spectrums that the human eye can not see without assistance.
The only way for a human to see into the ultraviolet spectrum is with a special UV light. The parakeet relies on its sense of vision as a means to survive and procreate.
The ultraviolet vision may allow parakeets to detect fresh fruits and seeds more easily and allow them to pick a healthy and robust mate.
Further, ultraviolet vision can help the parakeet identify fellow parakeets in its intricate social structure and better recognize its chosen mate.
How Does Color Impact Breeding Habits?
Everyone can appreciate the bold and striking appearance of the parakeet, marveling at the bright and varied colors.
It turns out, humans are not the only species to enjoy bright patterns and coloration. The bright and bold colors of a parakeet are tied very closely to breeding habits.
In fact, parakeets have even more colors in their feathers that are not perceptible by the human eye. Colors that can only be viewed under UV lighting can indicate which birds are the best breeding partners.
When viewed under UV light, some birds have even more vibrant feathers.
For a parakeet, though, their highly developed eye and sense of sight naturally can see into the UV spectrum, allowing them to quickly identify bright indicators that could be related to overall health.
Researchers believe that the birds with the most coloration make the best future mates.
When the parakeet spends prolonged time in the sun, it can cause its feathers and coloration to become even brighter.
To a bird, bright colors indicate the bird is outside and flying in the sun, which translates to a healthy and robust partner.
Why Do Parakeets Need Sharp Vision?
Parakeets require a sharp sense of sight to allow them to survive in the wild. Although parakeets may not have the laser-eye focus of a predator falcon, they still need to be able to see to eat.
Parakeets rely on eating fresh seeds and grasses, which are found throughout Australia. When birds are flying in flocks of over 2,000 birds, being able to spot some fresh fruit, vegetables, or a stalk of millet is essential to survival.
Aside from identifying food when flying overhead, the parakeet also needs to be able to determine if the fruit and seeds are fresh.
Their sense of taste is not as developed as humans, so they cannot rely on tasting sweet or sour food to determine freshness.
Instead, parakeets rely solely on their vision and the overall appearance of their food as a means of survival.
Many researchers believe that fresh fruits under ultraviolet light emit different qualities and colors than rotten fruit.
Can Parakeets Recognize Each Other?
It turns out that with their incredible vision and high intelligence, parakeets can easily recognize one another, even when they are living in the wild in large flocks of birds.
The striking coloration is the first indicator parakeets will use to identify one another.
Aside from the bold colors that humans may see, parakeets can see the UV spectrum, picking up on rich colors and the amount of sunlight each bird receives.
Parakeets are extremely social creatures and form detailed and intricate social structures within their natural flocks.
Males and females will recognize one another and choose a mate solely based on another bird’s appearance and perceived health. Recent experiments have separated a bonded male and female pair.
After 70 days apart, the birds still recognize one another when reunited.
Although parakeets may use their sense of smell to identify other birds, it is largely thought that the appearance of the other bird is the most significant indicator.
Can Parakeets Recognize Their Owners?
Parakeets can not only recognize one another, but they can also recognize their owners and multiple people in their human family.
In the wild, parakeets are extremely intelligent and social and also have phenomenal eyesight.
When you come within close contact with a domestic parakeet’s cage, the parakeet can recognize your face and the sound of your voice.
As such, many parakeets will form deep and lasting bonds with their human family. They will eventually favor certain people in the home, giving them more affection than others.
Their naturally social nature combined with incredible eyesight and intelligence makes the parakeet a loving and affectionate bird who will bond with specific members of your family.
Can Parakeets See in the Dark?
While parakeets have fantastic eyesight during daylight hours, they really struggle at night.
The bird’s eyes simply can’t adjust to the dark surroundings and have difficulty making out shapes and movements in the dark.
As a result of poor night vision, many parakeets suffer from night terrors because they panic if they see even the slightest movements in the dark.
To help keep parakeets calm at night, many owners will cover their cages with a dark covering. The cover will help make a pitch-black environment and block out motion and movement surrounding the cage.
It is also essential to never change the cage during the dark or right before the bird’s bedtime.
Moving a food bowl or a perch could be dangerous to a parakeet that hasn’t had daylight hours to become accustomed to the new layout.
Other owners have had luck installing a nightlight in the room where the parakeet lives to help provide even minimal illumination, calming the bird if there is any sudden movement.
Do parakeets have a favorite color?
Parakeets can see every color humans can see, and then some with their increased UV light spectrum. It seems that parakeets like toys with bright colors but will certainly have aversions toward specific colors.
Most parakeets will favor blue, green, and yellow toys but seem to dislike red. This dislike of red may be tied to natural parakeet colors, as red is not commonly found in this bird’s feather patterns or coloration.
Do parakeets glow under a black light?
Parakeets are known for their bold colors, but you may be able to see even more striking colors if you look at your parakeet under a special UV light.
Some parakeets have special feathers on the crown of the head and cheeks that are intensely reflected in ultraviolet light.
Most likely tied to courting displays, these bright colors can be found in yellow and light green parakeets and are found in both males and females.
Interestingly, blue or albino parakeets do not seem to display the same bright coloration under UV lighting.
Our team is composed of pet care professionals, veterinarians, and pet owners. To date, we’ve conducted thousands of hours of research to publish the most accurate pet information.
Most of the writers on our site are vets with 10+ years of clinical experience, ranging from small practice, to equine practice, academia, and surgery. Our goal is to help every pet owner get the information they seek about their dear companions.