Single target acuity is not higher than grating acuity in a bird, the budgerigar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We examined the capacity of budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus)to visually detect dark single targets against a brighter background and established their spatial resolution limit for such targets. While the sampling density of the retina limits the resolution of gratings, target detection is theoretically limited by contrast sensitivity. This allows many animals to detect single targets smaller than their visual resolution limit, but this is not the case for budgerigars. The budgerigars were able to detect a high contrast circular target with a luminance profile of a single period of a sine wave subtending 0.065 degrees of their visual field, corresponding to a spatial acuity of 7.7 cycles degree −1 , a measurement in line with the previously measured grating acuity of budgerigars (7.7 and 10 cycles degree −1 ). This result is different from findings on the spatial acuity of humans, who can detect single targets much smaller than predicted by their acuity for gratings. The low contrast sensitivity of budgerigar vision might be one of the reasons why the single target acuity is not higher than grating acuity. Adding a bright surround to the target did not influence detection threshold significantly. However, the threshold was slightly higher for a target with a square-wave luminance profile than for a target with a sinusoidal luminance profile.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology


  • Bird vision, Contrast sensitivity, Spatial resolution, Target acuity, Target detection, Visual acuity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-42
Number of pages6
JournalVision Research
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch