Owl eyes are huge but can’t move

World of Animals - - Seeing In The Dark -

Ac­count­ing for roughly five per cent of the bird’s weight, the eyes of an owl are around 250-times larger than those of a hu­man in re­la­tion to their body size. The cornea and pupil are en­larged to let in as much light as pos­si­ble as most owls are noc­tur­nal. Their eyes have very few colour­de­tect­ing cone cells but a huge ar­ray of low-light rods. Owls are able to see very clearly over long dis­tances but strug­gle to de­tect ob­jects very close to the eyes. They are adapted for hunt­ing small prey from the air through­out the night.

Even though the eyes are highly spe­cialised to work well in the dark, owls can­not move them in any di­rec­tion. They are held in place by bony struc­tures called scle­rotic rings, fixed look­ing straight ahead. This is why owls are able to turn their necks as far as 270 de­grees in ei­ther di­rec­tion.

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