Birds see ultraviolet light, which is beyond the range of human senses, as colour. The human eye has retinal cones sensitive to three colours, allowing us to sense red, green and blue and their combinations. Birds, on the other hand, have five types of retinal cones. For this reason birds are able to also see the ultraviolet colour and its combination with other colours. If humans could see ultraviolet, birds would also look different than what we are used to. A bird species that might look a bit boring to many humans actually has a terrific ultraviolet pattern.
A UV bird light allows pet birds to see the world as they would in the wild. Even though a building has windows, the window panes block most of the UV rays. A UV bird light is a full-spectrum lamp that produces all wavelengths of light from near ultraviolet to near infrared. These lamps give birds the ultraviolet they need to see the world in all its colourful splendour.
Without UV light the vision of birds also slows down, meaning that they cannot see as fast as they normally should. This makes it more difficult to detect fast movements, for example. Ultraviolet also plays a role in many other aspects of birds’ lives, including feeding (and the feeding of nestlings), communication and mate selection. Female birds pay close attention to the appearance of their suitors. If the shine of ultraviolet has faded from a suitor’s plumage, the female will not be impressed.