Do ducks have night vision?

by Mars

One of the major perks of our recently launched vlog is that it’s going to allow us to experiment and learn about new things. What surprised me in our latest vlog episode is that the mallard ducks on our pond swim around when it’s completely pitch dark.

When we looked into it, mallards, like other ducks, have good vision in low light conditions but they are not able to see completely in the dark.

Mallards have a special structure in their eyes called the tapetum lucidum, which reflects light back through the retina, increasing their sensitivity to low levels of light. This allows them to see well in dimly lit environments, such as at dawn and dusk when they are active. When I examined our footage more closely the moon was out and was reflecting in the water, so there was probably enough ambient light around.

Mallards are diurnal birds, which means they are active during the day and sleep at night. Every year, we get loads of ducklings on our pond, and we’re exited to sharing their development on our vlog.

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Di Sutton
Di Sutton
9 months ago

That’s interesting about the tapetum lucidum in Mallards Mars. I remember as a child reading that cats have this – and that’s why you pick up their eyes when caught in car headlights. I seem to remember that someone on Autumnwatch, or maybe Springwatch, also mentioned this is another species. I wonder whether it’s present in many species? Something to research!

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