Can birds move their eyes?

Vision is extremely important to birds, in fact, it’s their most important sense. Without their eyesight birds wouldn’t be able to find food, choose the best possible mate, keep away from predators and have a safe flying experience. Their eyes are also very large compared to other animals in the animal kingdom. So with all this seeing power can birds move their eyes?

Birds may have amazing eyes but they cannot move their eyes like humans and other animals can. They see things on the left and the right of their head by turning their head in that direction. On the upside, they have a much wider field of vision than other animals.

Can birds move their eyes?

You may have noticed that when your pet bird wants to look at something in the opposite corner of the room, it turns its whole head in that direction. And you wonder why it doesn’t just move its eyes there. Well, the reason why your bird moves its head to change its viewing angle is that it lacks the ability to move its eyes around.

Unlike humans, a lot of bird species cannot move their eyes without moving their heads. Parrots are one of the few birds with the ability to move their eyes in a similar fashion to humans. But then, while most birds cannot move their eyes like us, nature compensates them with something far better – a wider field of vision!

Do all birds have fixed eyes?

Yes, many birds have fixed eyes. What this means is that they cannot move their eyes without having to move their whole head. If you look at your pet bird’s eye, you might notice that there’s no sclera (the white part of the eye) surrounding the pupil, as is the case with the human eyes – this is because the eyes of most birds are fixed in their heads. Thus when the bird wants to see something in the opposite direction, it has to move its head, neck, and body.

What does a bird’s vision look like?

Pigeons and other bird species with eyes on the sides of their head have a much wider field of vision than birds like owls that have eyes at the front of their heads. 

Several studies have shown that, compared to humans, birds have much better vision. Birds are tetrachromats, meaning they see four colours – red, blue, green, and ultraviolet. On the other hand, humans are trichromats, seeing just three colours – red, blue, and green. Birds can also see farther than us and have a larger field of vision than we do.

Furthermore, it might impress you to know that some bird species can zoom in on an object and even see what’s behind them without turning their heads.

What birds have the best vision?

Eagles are said to have the best vision in the animal kingdom. The same objects a human can see from five feet away; an eagle will clearly see from twenty feet away. They fly at very high altitudes (15,000ft above ground) and can spot prey from way up there.

Owls have powerful eyesight too. In the animal kingdom, they have one of the largest eyes. Like the eagle, these birds can see prey from a great distance and have the best nighttime vision.

Other birds with very sharp vision include hawks, falcons, and vultures.

Which bird has the worst vision?

Studies have shown that, compared to other birds, kiwis have the worst eyesight. When hunting for food, these nocturnal birds rely on their other senses. They have a superb sense of smell, this helps make up for their poor eyesight.


In conclusion, no, birds cannot move their eyes. These animals have to turn their whole head to see things on the sides of their head. To help compensative for this, birds have great eyesight and they have a much wider field of vision than us humans do. Many birds have fixed eyes and thus cannot move their heads. The bird with the best vision is the eagle and the bird with the worst vision is the kiwi bird.

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other bird related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: do birds go into heat, natural pain relief for birds, do pigeons get cold, can birds eat salted sunflower seeds

Can birds move their eyes?
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