Bright light bars big-eyed birds from human-altered landscapes

Bright light bars big-eyed birds from human-altered landscapes
In a study of 240 bird species, Florida Museum of Natural History researchers found strong links between eye size, light and habitat use. The findings suggest eye size could be an important predictor for how sensitive certain bird species may be to habitat disturbance. Credit: Ian Ausprey/Florida Museum

New research shows the glaring light in human-altered landscapes, such as livestock pastures and crop fields, can act as a barrier to big-eyed birds, potentially contributing to their decline.


Florida Museum of Natural History researchers found strong links between bird eye size, habitat and foraging technique. Birds that kept to the shade of the forest had larger eyes than those that inhabited the canopy, and birds with relatively small eyes were more numerous in agricultural settings.

The findings suggest eye size is an overlooked, but important trait in determining birds’ vulnerability to changes in their habitat and could help inform future research

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